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The 
Bowdoin 

College 

Library 



From the books of 
KENNETH C. M. SILLS 

President of Bowdoin College, 19 18-1952 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 



http://archive.org/details/historyofbowdoinOOhatc 



THE 
HISTORY 

OF 
BOWDOIN 
COLLEGE 



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Nathaniel Hawthorjnte 



THE 



HISTORY 



OF 



BOWDOIN COLLEGE 



BY 



LOUIS C. HATCH 



PORTLAND, MAINE 

LORING, SHORT & HARMON 

1927 



Copyright, 1927, by Louis C. Hatch 



Printed by the Southworth Press, Portland, Maine 



PREFACE 



In offering this history of Bowdoin College to the alumni and to 
the public the author wishes to make a full acknowledgment of its 
imperfections and to beg the favorable consideration of its readers. 
He has endeavored to please all the Bowdoin boys, but their ages 
range from under eighteen to over eighty, their interests and tastes 
differ widely, and to treat every topic with the fullness which some of 
this wide audience might desire would unduly increase both the size 
and the cost of the book. Some subjects have been omitted or have 
been treated very briefly for special reasons. No account has been 
given of the effect of the World War on Bowdoin because a book on 
Bowdoin in the War is now in preparation. Most of the professors 
and certain important events of the last thirty years have been un- 
noticed or dealt with very briefly. The time has not come to treat 
them in detail, that must be left to the fuller experience and calmer 
judgment of nineteen-fifty, or of some other time when the next 
history of Bowdoin shall be written. 

For other omissions there is less justification. It was hoped to 
publish the work in 1926. This proved to be impossible, but it was 
felt that publication ought not to be delayed beyond the Commence- 
ment of 1927, the author left too much to be done in the last months, 
matter was crowded out or presented in very abbreviated form and 
it proved necessary to decline a kind offer of assistance in proof 
reading which would have been most valuable. 

One reason for the delay in completing the book has been the at- 
tempt to thoroughly examine substantially all the available ma- 
terial printed and unprinted. Every Orient has been carefully 
looked through, every Bugle consulted. Use has been made of the 
printed reports of the presidents and of the histories of Bowdoin by 



VI PREFACE 

Cleaveland and Packard and by Professor George T. Little. The 
author desires to express his special obligations to the latter work. 

Still more valuable has been the unpublished material. The li- 
brary has a great collection of clippings from newspapers, manu- 
script recollections, etc., formed by Librarian Little and carefully 
kept up to date by Librarian Wilder. It also has in its archive room 
most interesting letters from the correspondence of Presidents Mc- 
Keen and Woods, of Charles S. Daveis, and Nehemiah Cleaveland. 
With these are preserved the elaborate journal of the Praying Circle, 
the later records of the Theological Society, the papers of the 
Athenaean and Peucinian Societies, and other valuable documents. 

Thanks to the courtesy of the college authorities the official 
records of Bowdoin have been opened to me. The records of the 
Trustees on which are noted the vetoes of the Overseers, if that power 
was exercised, have been carefully examined from the earliest dates. 
The reports of the visiting committees with those of the presidents 
and professors have been bound for the period 1826 to 1864 and 
these volumes have yielded much and valuable information. The 
later reports are tied up and packed in shoe boxes. They have been 
examined, particularly the reports of the visiting committees and the 
presidents, until the date printing of the full and able reports of 
President Hyde rendered the rifling of the shoe boxes somewhat 
superfluous. 

Numerous and full extracts have been made from the papers used, 
and perhaps the history may be censured as Hamlet is said to have 
been, and with more justice, for being full of quotations. But quo- 
tations enable the reader to go to the sources and they help him to 
understand the feelings of the men of the times of which the history 
is written. In making quotations it has been the purpose of the 
author to give them verbatim even when the English seems very odd 
today, but at times the punctuation and capitalization have been 
modified. 

The author has received valuable suggestions for which he tenders 
his grateful thanks, but he is solely responsible for the book, both 



PREFACE VU 

as to substance and form. Special acknowledgments are due to 
President Sills for his constant interest in the book and to Librarian 
Wilder for taking time and trouble in securing facts and materials 
for the author and in giving him special privileges in the library. He 
also wishes to thank the governing Boards for their care to secure 
him against financial loss. 



CONTENTS 



I. The Founding of Bowdoin 1 

II. The Administrations of Presidents McKeen 

and Appleton 23 

III. The Administration of President Allen 47 

IV. The Administration of President Woods 85 

V. The Administrations of Presidents Harris and 

Chamberlain 125 

VI. The Administrations of Presidents Hyde and 

Sills 181 

VII. Miscellaneous 212 

VIII. Religious Life at Bowdoin 269 

IX. Fraternities and Social Life 304 

X. Athletics 342 

XI. The Campus, The Buildings and Their 

Contents 393 

XII. The Medical School 461 

Appendix 479 

Index 491 



IX 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



Nathaniel Hawthorne frontispiece 

The Thorndike Oak facing p. 21 

President McKeen, President Appleton, President Allen, President 
Woods facing p. 36 

Bowdoin in 1820 facing p. 47 

Parker Cleaveland, William Smyth, Thomas Cogswell Upham, Al- 
pheus Spring Packard facing p. 53 

Cyrus Hamlin, Oliver Otis Howard, Robert Edwin Peary, Luther V. 
Bell facing p. 68 

Bowdoin in 1860 facing p. 107 

William Pitt Fessenden, Thomas Brackett Reed facing p. 117 

President Harris, President Chamberlain, President Hyde, President 
Sills facing p. 125 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow facing p. 255 

The Chapel from the Art Building facing p. 269 

George Evans, John Albion Andrew, James Ware Bradbury, Mel- 
ville Weston Fuller facing p. 278 

Calvin Ellis Stowe, Daniel Raynes Goodwin, Charles Carroll Everett, 
Elijah Kellogg facing p. 280 

Alpha Delta Phi House, Psi Upsilon House, Chi Psi Lodge, Delta 
Kappa Epsilon House facing p. 326 

xi 



Delta Upsilon House, Theta Delta Chi House, Zeta Psi House, 
Kappa Sigma House facing p. 327 

Beta Theta Pi House, Sigma Nu House, The President's House, Phi 
Delta Psi House facing p. 328 

Sargent Gymnasium and Hyde Athletic Building facing p. 342 

Hubbard Grand Stand, Whittier Athletic Field facing p. 383 

The Franklin C. Robinson Gateway, The Warren Eastman Robinson 
Memorial Gateway, Gates of '78, Gates of '75 facing p. 393 

Massachusetts Hall, Winthrop Hall, Memorial Hall, Dudley Coe 
Memorial Infirmary facing p. 405 



Hubbard Hall 

Walker Art Building 

Walker Art Building by Moonlight 

Searles Science Building 

Bowdoin in 1910 



facing p. 432 
facing p. 447 
facing p. 454 
facing p. 459 
facing p. 477 



Xll 



THE 
HISTORY 

OF 
BOWDOIN 
COLLEGE 



CHAPTER I 

THE FOUNDING OF BOWDOIN 



BOWDOIN COLLEGE is not the creation of a multi-millionaire, 
like Johns Hopkins or Leland Stanford University, nor does 
it, like Harvard, chiefly owe its being to the desire of the clergy and 
influential members of the church to secure a continual succession of 
learned ministers. Bowdoin was founded because a remote and sparse- 
ly settled but not unprogressive district demanded that its sons might 
have the benefit of a college education without undertaking a long 
and expensive journey to Massachusetts and defraying what seemed 
the heavy cost of studying and living at the "University of Cam- 
bridge." It is significant also that, while a charter was being sought 
for a college in Maine, the District 1 was becoming in some respects a 
judicial and administrative unit and that many of her citizens, a 
minority indeed but a very active one, were demanding that Maine 
be separated from Massachusetts and made a sovereign state in the 
American Union. Like the states of Germany in the Middle Ages 
and our own new states in the nineteenth century, Maine felt that it 
was derogatory to her dignity for her children to seek education out- 
side her borders. But we must not unduly stress the differences in 
the history of the founding of Bowdoin and that of the establishment 
of other American colleges. Bowdoin sought and found a patron, 
as her name proclaims, and the clergy took an active part in her es- 
tablishment because they hoped that she would be a training school 
for ministers and a bulwark of orthodoxy. 

The first attempt to found a college in Maine, of which we have 

1 A name commonly applied to Maine which during the Revolutionary War 
had formed a separate admiralty district. 



2 THE HISTORY OF BOVDOIN COLLEGE 

information, 2 was made in 1787 when a representative in the Mas- 
sachusetts legislature from Lincoln county drew a bill for the 
erection in his county of "Winthrop College." No action was taken 
on the bill, but the legislature granted a township for the benefit of 
such a college when it should be established. The next year the as- 
sociation of ministers of Cumberland county petitioned for the foun- 
dation and endowment of a college in their county, and a like petition 
was presented by the Cumberland justices of the peace, sitting in 
general sessions. Massachusetts was, at that time, ready to meet 
the wishes of Maine, both from a sense of justice and from a hope 
of thereby defeating a movement for separation, but the legislation 
desired was postponed by local disputes in Maine itself. Seven 
wealthy cities of Hellas are said to have contended for Homer after 
he was dead, and at least eight ambitious towns in Maine — Gorham, 
Portland, North Yarmouth, Brunswick, New Gloucester, Freeport, 
Turner, and Winthrop — fought for Bowdoin before she was born. 
Portland, the largest town in the District, thought that the youth of 
Maine should come to her to be polished and refined, and taught how 
to bear themselves while they were still in the plastic age. She claimed 
that colleges were always located in populous places, that indeed 
they could not avoid being so, for in two or three centuries a uni- 
versity would cause a city to grow around it. But if populous Port- 
land, with over 2000 inhabitants, wished to have Maine boys come to 
her to learn manners, North Yarmouth voted that the college should 
be placed in her limits where the morals of the students would be pro- 
tected, since she had little trade, was not a county seat and was "not 
so much exposed to many Temptations to Dissipation, Extravagance, 
Vanity and various Vices as great seaport towns frequently are," 
and when the question of location was considered by the legislature 
Representative Martin of North Yarmouth made the modest state- 
ment that all of his constituents were virtuous and that most of them 
were pious. It is to be noted that while the two towns differed over 
the best means of moulding the characters of the young collegians, 

2 In 1835 Judge Johnson of Belfast wrote to Professor Packard, giving an ac- 
count of the founding of Bowdoin, as told him by his father who had taken an 
active part in it. The Judge stated that there had been a movement for estab- 
lishing a college in Maine before the Revolution but that it was killed by the war. 



THE FOUNDING OF BOWDOIN 6 

they each claimed to have special facilities for supplying their physi- 
cal needs. Before the railroads came this was a matter for careful 
consideration. In the Middle Ages the Papal Bull for the foundation 
of a University usually stated that the town or city where it was to 
be placed had excellent opportunities for obtaining provisions, and 
even in the eighteenth century the students of Dartmouth, in the little 
village of Hanover, sometimes lacked sufficient food. Cheap bread 
was not the only material argument used by the Maine towns in their 
struggle for the new college. Sites were tendered and subscription 
papers circulated. North Yarmouth offered to give the town farm, 
and various inhabitants pledged money or labor. 

It was urged in favor of Turner, that if the college were placed 
there her great absentee landowner, Mr. Little of Newbury, Massa- 
chusetts, would make a generous gift. 

Citizens of Freeport and vicinity promised nearly thirteen hun- 
dred pounds or about four thousand dollars. Portland, thereupon, 
subscribed twelve hundred pounds and Rev. Dr. Deane wrote to 
a member of the legislature that further contributions were ex- 
pected, that he thought that every subscriber would meet his pledge, 
and that "This is not believed to be the case with the subscribers in 
and about Freeport." Portland also offered a site "on the top of a 
height called Bramhall's Hill about three-fourths of a mile from the 
compact settlement." The men of Freeport made the claim, so often 
heard in a dispute over location, that their town was the center of 
population, since the last census showed that an equal number of 
the inhabitants of Maine lived to the east and to the west of it. But 
Rev. Dr. Deane, in the letter quoted above, urged in reply that 
". . . Portland is far more central and convenient, as it respects the 
whole County of Cumberland, than any other place is or can be, and 
that it is not ten miles to the South West of the centre of ye inhabi- 
tants of the five Counties ; and vastly more convenient for the dis- 
trict, than any other place, for going and returning, by land or 
water ; as well as sufficiently distant from all other colleges and Uni- 
versities and that if the two Eastern young counties (Hancock and 
Washington) should in time become populous, there will be plenty of 
room for another young College, 150 miles eastward of this." 



4 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Dr. Deane's arguments might have proved successful but for the 
opposition of another Portlander, Rev. Elijah Kellogg, the pastor of 
the Second Church. Mr. Kellogg believed that even at that early 
day Portland was too far 1 west for the Maine college, he was by na- 
ture very energetic in the support of his opinions and his action was 
a potent factor in the placing of Bowdoin in a more eastern village 
rather than in the metropolis of Maine. 

But now came another delay, caused, it is to be feared, by personal 
jealousy. John Hancock was Governor of Massachusetts and the 
new college was to be named after the late Governor Bowdoin, Han- 
cock's constant political opponent. There had been considerable 
vacillation on the question of name. The "College of Maine" and 
"Winthrop College" appeared in bills, but one of them permitted the 
corporation to change the name of the college to that of its greatest 
benefactor. With genuine New England shrewdness an eponymous 
hero was sought whose selection would bring cash as well as credit. 
It is said that an offer was made to William Gray of Salem, one of 
the wealthiest merchants and ship owners of New England, to name 
the college after him if he would erect the necessary buildings, but 
Mr. Gray, although interested in literature and the science of gov- 
ernment as well as business, declined the somewhat expensive honor 
and so missed his chance of fame. Undiscouraged by this rebuff the 
friends of the college continued their search for a patron. Judge 
Johnson states in the letter of 1835, already cited, that at the win- 
ter session of 1792 "it occurred to my father & probably to others 
that the late learned Governor Bowdoin had left both a name and an 
estate that might be honorable and useful to the college. He there- 
upon procured an introduction, made the suggestion to his son and 
heir, the late James Bowdoin, observing that Literature was poor & 
custom had connected patronage with the name. The thought took 
with him & he soon made proposals ; but added that such were the 
vicissitudes of fortune that he might never be able to do so much as 
might be anticipated from him; but shrewdly cautioned my father 
not to let his father's name be given to the College in the Act which 
he said might be left to be given by the Boards afterwards; as he 
thought such was Gov. Hancock's antipathy to his father that he 



THE FOUNDING OF BOWDOIN 5 

wd never approve of an act for a College with his father's name given 
to it and related some curious anecdotes to confirm his suspicions. 
My father could not believe that Gov. H. could be influenced by such 
considerations, — and thinking it best to make sure of the patronage, 
& not subject the name to further dispute, caused the name of Bow- 
doin to be inserted in the Bill. There were many who disliked the 
name as the Hancock party prevailed greatly in Maine. The Gov- 
ernor omitted to give the Bill his sanction whether for the cause in- 
timated above, or for what other reason was never known, but it did 
not become a law." 

In the winter session of 1794 Hancock's successor, Samuel Adams, 
also allowed a Bowdoin bill to fail. There was still much disagree- 
ment on the subject of location but the Maine members of the legis- 
lature were consulted and pronounced by a large majority in favor 
of Brunswick, and "An Act to establish a College in the Town of 
Brunswick and the District of Maine, within this Commonwealth" 
was passed by the legislature; on June 24, 1794, it was signed by 
Governor Adams, and Bowdoin College had at last obtained legal 
existence. The college birthday is at once Midsummer's Day, the 
commemoration day of St. John the Baptist, and the anniversary of 
the battle of Bannockburn. 

The powers of the new institution were, in general, such as are 
usually given to colleges, but there were two special limitations. 
Bowdoin was forbidden to confer any degrees except those of bach- 
elor and master of arts until after January 1, 1810, and it could not 
hold property yielding a clear annual income of over ten thousand 
pounds, that is over thirty-three thousand three hundred and thirty- 
three dollars. The first provision, which may have been intended to 
prevent the hasty creation of a swarm of doctors of divinity in a 
remote and rural section, was only temporary; the second fixed a 
limit so high that it caused no inconvenience for over a century. 3 
Then in 1891 it was removed by the joint action of the legislatures 
of Massachusetts and Maine with the assent of the college. The Act 
of 1794 made the President and Trustees of Bowdoin College a body 

3 There had been great difficulty in determining the amount of income-pro- 
ducing property which the college might hold. One bill fixed the limit at six 
thousand pounds, another made it twenty thousand. 



6 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

corporate with the right to confer degrees, "to elect the president, 
professors and instructors, to fix their salaries and define their du- 
ties ; in general to serve as the executive board of the institution." 
The legislature also "the more effectually to provide for the wise and 
regular government of said college, and for the prudent administra- 
tion of the funds belonging to it," established "a supervising body 
with proper powers," to be known as the Overseers, whose consent 
was necessary to every act of the Trustees affecting the college. 
They were further authorized, whenever they should see fit, to re- 
quire the treasurer of the college to make a full report of his official 
acts. What may be termed the college with double management is 
unusual in America. In 1794 there were only two in New England, 
Harvard and Brown, and but one has been established since, Bates. 
When the Bowdoin charter was granted, most of the college men in 
the legislature were graduates of Harvard and it is not strange that 
the constitution of the new college resembled that of the older one. 
Opinion, however, was not unanimous. The bill of 1791 provided 
for a single Board of seventeen members, and an amendment offered 
by Theophilus Parsons, creating a Board of Overseers, was defeated 
after considerable debate. 

The legislature took a precaution very necessary in the case of 
men residing far from each other and the college, and holding office 
without limitation of time. Each Board was authorized to remove 
those of its members whom it should judge to be incapacitated by 
age or otherwise, or who might neglect or refuse to discharge the 
duties of their office. 4 The Trustees were to be from seven to thir- 
teen in number, including the president and the treasurer of the col- 
lege, who were members ex-officio ; there were to be from twenty-five 
to forty-five Overseers, including the president of the college and the 
secretary of the Trustees ; seven Trustees and fifteen Overseers were 
to constitute a quorum of their respective boards. The act of in- 
corporation named the first Trustees and Overseers, except the ex- 

4 In the early history of the college this power was not infrequently exercised. 
Travelling was a much more difficult matter than it was even fifty years after the 
incorporation of the college, young men were not chosen Trustees or Overseers, 
some of the latter had been selected on account of their official position, and it 
is not surprising to learn that one-third of the forty-two charter members never 
attended a meeting, some, indeed, declined their appointment. 



THE FOUNDING OF BOWDOIN 7 

officio members. Vacancies in each Board were to be filled by the 
Board itself, but the Overseers had a veto on the choice of the Trus- 
tees. The legislature reserved the right to alter or annul any of the 
powers granted by the charter as the best interests of the college 
might require. The final section of the act of incorporation gave to 
the college five townships of land, each six miles square to be taken 
from the unappropriated state lands in Maine. 

The first meetings of the Trustees and of the Overseers were held 
on December 3, 1794, at the courthouse in Portland where, accord- 
ing to the diary of General Henry Sewall, the clerk of the court, 
they hindered business. The Boards sat on the two succeeding days, 
but perhaps out of regard for the convenience of justice, met at the 
house of Rev. Dr. Deane. A committee consisting of William Mar- 
tin of North Yarmouth, Stephen Longfellow of Portland, and John 
Dunlap of Brunswick was appointed to locate the lands given by the 
State. Josiah Thacher of Gorham and Samuel Freeman of Portland 
were subsequently added to the committee. 

They selected five townships in the seventh range north of the 
Waldo Patent. Four of them subsequently became the towns of Se- 
bec, Foxcroft, Guilford and Abbot ; the fifth was exchanged for No. 
3 in the first range, the future Dixmont. 

Another duty of the Boards was to determine the exact site of the 
college, the charter merely providing that it should be in Brunswick. 
Accordingly on July 19, 1796, the Trustees and Overseers met at 
John Dunning's Inn, Brunswick, and accompanied by other friends 
of the college tramped up the "twelve rod road," so-called from its 
original width, and now known as Maine Street, and examined a 
tract of thirty acres on a hill at the edge of the settlement, which 
had been offered as a site for the college by the principal owner, 
William Stanwood. The Boards then returned to the inn and voted 
to accept the tract if the town would give three hundred acres ad- 
joining it. The thirty acres were transferred by Mr. Stanwood, 
John Dunlap and Brigadier-General Thompson of Topsham joining 
in the deed. 5 The town gave two hundred acres, the Pejepscot Pro- 

5 Even this did not clear the title and the college was obliged to buy out other 
owners. 



8 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

prietors, a great land company which had formerly owned the site 
of Brunswick, ratified the gift, and to make assurance doubly sure 
a confirmation was obtained from the legislature. The Boards on 
their part agreed to come to Brunswick, though receiving one hun- 
dred acres less than they had hoped. 

The first meeting of the Boards had been cheered by the receipt of 
a letter from Mr. Bowdoin expressing his sense of the honor done 
his late father and the family in naming the college after them. Mr. 
Bowdoin said that it was his intention to give practical proof of his 
gratitude and that as a first step in the design he had conveyed to 
the college a thousand acres of land in the town of Bowdoin, Maine, 
and had deposited in the Union Bank of Boston to the credit of the 
college the sum of three hundred pounds (one thousand dollars). On 
January 6, 1795, Mr. Bowdoin made a further gift of a note of 
Brigadier-General Thompson for the sum of eight hundred and 
twenty-three pounds, four shillings, secured by a mortgage of land in 
Bowdoin, and requested that it be used for the endowment of a chair 
of mathematics and natural and experimental philosophy, and that 
the interest be added to the principal until a professor should be ap- 
pointed. Mr. Bowdoin' s generosity was warmly acknowledged, but 
one cannot help wondering if any of the gentlemen who voted their 
grateful thanks realized that they had received, in part, not money 
but rights which it might be painful and difficult to enforce. In May, 
1796, the Overseers agreed to a vote of the Trustees directing the 
treasurer to call on their brother Overseer, General Thompson, for 
the interest due upon his note. All great landowners were troubled by 
"squatters," that is, men who, sometimes with more, sometimes with 
less, excuse had settled on land which did not belong to them and re- 
fused either to leave or to buy the land at what the proprietors re- 
garded as a reasonable price. The college suffered the usual fate 
and in 1804 was obliged to appeal to the state authorities to put 
them in undisturbed possession of their land in Bowdoin. 

The generosity of the State and of Mr. Bowdoin was not felt to 
be sufficient to warrant the opening of the college and attempts were 
made to obtain other patrons. Special committees were appointed 
to solicit aid from Honorable William Bingham of Pennsylvania, 



THE FOUNDING OF BOWDOIN 9 

owner of an enormous tract of land in Maine, and from General 
Knox. Mr. Bingham seems to have given nothing, and from General 
Knox the college obtained only good wishes, regret that he was un- 
able to spare any money for so worthy a cause, and a fine copy of a 
work on the Danube for the library. 6 Other gentlemen were more 
helpful, but the result on the whole was unsatisfactory. In an ac- 
count of Bowdoin in an article on Brunswick in a history of Cumber- 
land county there is a quotation from Professor Packard : "Commit- 
tees were repeatedly appointed by the Boards to solicit donations, 
but the public had not yet learned to give, and when thousands were 
needed the amount contributed was small and mostly in books." It 
may be that there was a feeling that the college was not making suffi- 
cient use of what it had. The Boards differed seriously on this mat- 
ter. The college property consisted almost entirely of wild lands, 
which were a drug in the market. 7 The Trustees believed that it 
would be wise to postpone a sale, wait for the better times which would 
surely come, and thus obtain something like a fair price for the land, 
even if the opening of the college were delayed, or its beginnings made 
very modest. The Overseers wished to begin at once in a reasonably 
good style although the land must be sold at a heavy sacrifice. Both 
Boards agreed to the erection of a brick building one hundred feet 
long, forty feet wide and four stories high, with a cellar under the 
whole, as soon as financial provision should be made therefor. This 
was little more than the expression of a pious hope, but when the 
Trustees attempted to carry out their wishes for a simple beginning 
by directing the building of a house for the President where a few 
students could be lodged, the Overseers three times interposed their 
veto. The Boards agreed, however, to appoint a committee to con- 
tract for the erection of the large brick building and authorized it 
to give as consideration any of the college townships except No. 3 
(Dixmont). But no one could be found to accept the offer. It was 
then decided to erect a smaller building, the cost to be defrayed from 

6 A list of gifts published in 1803 credits Knox with a contribution of seventy- 
five dollars. It may be that this represents the value of the books, but as books 
are mentioned separately it is more likely that it was a later or substitute dona- 
tion in cash. 

7 It is said that the State had parted with its best lands while the friends of 
the college were squabbling over the question of location. 



10 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

money received from other sources than the sale of great blocks of 
land. On May 17, 1798, the Boards voted to build a hall fifty (not 
one hundred) feet long, forty feet wide, and of three instead of four 
stories. Subsequently they voted that the stories be ten, nine, and 
seven and a half feet high, that the entry-hall be ten feet wide, and 
that the windows be eight by ten inches. The roof was to be hipped 
and to have two pediments. There was much delay, money came in 
slowly, and after the walls, made of brick brought from Portland, 
were raised, a temporary roof was put on, the windows were boarded 
up, and work was suspended for two years. In 1800 two thousand 
dollars were appropriated for completing the "house" and the matter 
was entrusted to Captain John Dunlap of Brunswick, a wealthy lum- 
berman and an able business man. He was directed to have the work 
done "in a plain manner according to the finishing of Hollis Hall at 
Cambridge" and "to make his contracts both for labor and ma- 
terials, for payment in cash only, in order that the building may be 
finished in the cheapest manner." The instructions were wise, the 
superintendent was experienced, and by the spring of 1802 the house 
was ready for occupancy. The success was due, however, not 
merely to good management, but also, and indeed chiefly, to a sud- 
den and most gratifying change in the financial condition of the 
college. In 1800 this was almost desperate but the next year the 
townships later known as Dixmont and Foxcroft were sold for over 
twenty thousand dollars and seven thousand nine hundred and forty 
dollars respectively. 

With a substantial building assured and a considerable sum in the 
treasury the Boards felt warranted in preparing for the opening of 
the college by the choice of a President. The matter was one of great 
importance and some difficulty. Among those with the strongest sup- 
port for the position was Rev. Joseph McKeen, the pastor of Lower 
Beverly. The parish was "large and wealthy" and contained some 
of the leading men of the State. Mr. McKeen had presided over it for 
sixteen years with good success, and some who would otherwise have 
joined in inviting him to Bowdoin feared that the presidency of a 
new college in a remote and sparsely settled district would have little 
attraction for the minister of Beverly, that he would decline the offer 



THE FOUNDING OF BOWDOIN 11 

and that in calling him they would merely throw away their votes 
and delay the opening of the college. Under these circumstances 
Reverend Elijah Kellogg, a trustee of Bowdoin and one of Mr. Mc- 
Keen's most ardent supporters, wrote him in June, 1801 : "Respected 
friend, I take the liberty to trouble you with a few words on a sub- 
ject of great magnitude, viz., the choice of a suitable person for 
the President of Bowdoin College, next month, the appointment is 
to take place. Being one of the trustees and one of the Committee 
for the management of the College property, I beg leave to assure 
you that it is the general wish you might be the Gentleman; but 
many are very doubtful whether you would accept the trust. I have 
been requested to write you on the subject; that you might if con- 
sistent with your feelings, say something to me in a letter which 
should not amount to a final negative of everything of that nature 
... In my opinion, with good management, the funds of the College 
will, in a few years, be very ample. Pray, Sir, consider the immense 
opening for your talents at the head of an infant seminary in the 
District of Maine, which is as extensive as all New England besides, 
and populating to a degree almost incalculable. Excepting a few 
families in Beverly, your flock might like the milk of another teacher 
as well as your strong meat ; but at this day of trouble and blasphe- 
my 8 such a light as yours is essential in a seminary of learning. 

Give my regards to your lady and pray send me something that is 
comforting." 

The comfort appears to have been promptly sent in the shape of 
a private letter to Mr. Kellogg expressing a favorable disposition 
toward accepting a call and asking for a copy of any votes that 
might be passed and for the names of the Trustees and Overseers. 
The letter was shown to an Overseer, Mr. John Abbot, who used it 
as a basis of assurance to some in doubt whether Mr. McKeen would 
accept, that he would probably do so. Nevertheless the first vote of 
the Trustees was divided among six candidates. But differences 
were adjusted; Mr. McKeen was elected and the Overseers promptly 

8 The French Revolution had been followed by an increase of infidelity in 
America, and all good Federalists, and especially the Congregationalist clergy, 
had been horrified by the recent election to the presidency of that free-thinking 
Democrat, Thomas Jefferson. 



12 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

ratified the choice by a vote of thirty to seven. By later votes the 
President's compensation was fixed at one thousand dollars a year, 
the diploma fees, and the use of a house, rent-free. The term of 
service was "during good behavior." Mr. McKeen, notwithstanding 
his letter to Mr. Kellogg, was slow in accepting the call. The chief 
difficulties arose over the tenure of office and the salary. Did "good 
behavior" mean, unless forfeited by clear misconduct, or, good be- 
havior in office, that is, ability to perform the duties of the presi- 
dency? There was some difference of opinion among the members of 
the Boards, but Mr. McKeen was assured by Mr. Kellogg that it was 
their full intention that the President, if dismissed, should be de- 
cently supported for life. Mr. McKeen, however, feared that there 
might be unpleasant disputes in future as to what constituted a de- 
cent support and wished that the matter be determined immediately. 
Of the salary he said : 

"Were there no probability that money would become more valu- 
able than it now is I should think one thousand dollars a year with 
the inconsiderable perquisites of the office inadequate. Quarterly 
payments will be of so much importance that you will give me leave 
to expect them to be punctually paid." He was also anxious con- 
cerning his co-laborers and his tools. He wrote to Overseer Abbot, 
who was a personal friend and who was later elected the professor 
of the ancient languages, "When I contemplate a removel from this 
place as a probable event, my mind is perhaps more deeply impressed 
than a gentleman in independent circumstances, or unencumbered 
with a family can easily conceive. 

As I am not personally acquainted with many gentlemen of the 
two Boards, you will give me leave to inquire whether the instructors 
may feel a perfect confidence in their candor. It would be extremely 
disagreeable to me to be intimately connected with captious, fac- 
tious, intriguing and discontented men. 

I do not know that there are any of this description among them. 
If there are some do you suppose there is a sufficient number of 
others to keep them from being troublesome? 

If I did not entertain a hope that I could satisfy reasonable and 



THE FOUNDING OF BOWDOIN 13 

candid men ; and that I should have such to deal with, I should not 
be long in deciding against a removal. 

Is there a prospect of obtaining soon a decent library and ap- 
paratus [for teaching natural science] ? The number of books and 
instruments is not of so much importance, as that the selection be 
good. — 

I expect to go to Boston in a week or two and to have some com- 
munication with Mr. Bowdoin about the infant that bears his name. 
If he will own it, nobody doubts his ability to maintain it." 

Mr. McKeen proposed to the Boards that he should retire if dis- 
abled by age or ill-health, but in that case should receive one-half his 
salary for life and that in return for relinquishing the other half the 
college should at once give him a thousand acres of its wild land of 
good average quality, which would serve as a provision for his fam- 
ily after his death. Mr. McKeen admitted that the Boards might 
fear that the land grant would be an inconvenient precedent, but he 
said that he believed that the duties of the first instructors would be 
more arduous than those of their successors, and their compensation 
less. As an additional consideration for the grant he offered to visit 
other New England colleges, "particularly such as are new, and have 
but a few instructors, to learn their customs, laws and modes of edu- 
cation, that a selection of the best may be made." 

The proposed compromise was not wholly agreeable to the Trus- 
tees. Dr. Deane wrote to Mr. Johnson, "I think our president with 
common economy, can not only live in handsome style but lay up one 
third of his salary. 

With respect to his trouble and expense of removing to Bruns- 
wick, Mr. Bowdoin has promised to give him one hundred dollars 
towards it, in case of his acceptance ; and I am apt to think he will 
more than make good his promise. 

As to the gift of land which he requests, as he vouches in Mr. 
Bowdoin as wishing it; I suspect that the majority of the Trustees 
will be inclinable to make it, rather than affront our greatest bene- 
factor, and run the risk of losing our elect president." 

The Boards took action on the lines indicated by Dr. Deane. 
They voted a grant of a thousand acres of land of average quality in 



14 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Township No. 6, 9 but did nothing in regard to a retiring allowance. 
Mr. McKeen on his part did not insist on a specific arrangement in 
this matter, but accepted the call to Bowdoin. He had, however, made 
it an implied if not an absolute condition that the college should 
build him a house and the Boards voted to erect one, although they 
had intended to put the President and his family into Massachusetts 
Hall. The arrangement of rooms in the new house was wisely left to 
Mr. McKeen, Mr. Johnson writing him, "The interiour form has not 
been fixed, and I desired Dr. Porter, our agent for building it, to call 
on you as he passes to the general court, for your directions therein." 
Mr. McKeen was well qualified by training and character to be 
the head of a young New England college. Joseph McKeen was born 
in 1757 in Londonderry, New Hampshire. "His father, John, and 
his grandfather, James, were among the first settlers of the place, to 
which they came from the North of Ireland about 1718. Some forty 
years earlier the family, to avoid the brutal cruelty of Claverhouse's 
dragoons had fled from Argyleshire to Ulster. Yet even there, as 
Presbyterian dissenters, they found themselves in unpleasant rela- 
tions with the Established Church, and as foreigners and Protes- 
tants, they came often into conflict with the native Celtic population. 
Such considerations were quite sufficient to induce those sturdy 
Scotchmen, the McKeens, the McGregors, the Nesmiths, and others, 
to exchange the fertile and pleasant valley of the Lower Bann for the 
cold hard hills of New Hampshire. To the town, which they founded, 
these hardy adventurers gave the name of a place, where some of 
them had fought and suffered during those terrible hundred and five 
days which made the siege of Londonderry the most memorable event 
of the kind in all the British annals. In this remarkable colony 
James McKeen was the leading man. John inherited his father's 
abilities and virtues and passed them on to his more distinguished 
son. Joseph McKeen graduated at Hanover in the class of 1774, 
at the age of seventeen. During the following eight years of Revolu- 
tionary turmoil he was quietly teaching school in his native town, 
excepting a short period of voluntary service in the army under Gen- 

9 They attempted to meet the danger of establishing a precedent by referring 
to the reasons for the grant offered by Mr. McKeen and also mentioning the 
circumstance that he was the first president. 



THE FOUNDING OF BOVDOIN 15 

eral Sullivan. From Londonderry he went to Cambridge, and as a 
private pupil of the celebrated Professor Williams spent some time 
in the prosecution of his favorite studies, — mathematics and astron- 
omy. Dr. Williams of Windham, who had fitted him for college, was 
his instructor in theology. After a few terms spent in assisting Dr. 
Pearson at the Phillips (Andover) Academy, he began to preach." 
Mr. McKeen had made the short step from the Presbyterian to the 
Congregationalist Church and in 1785 he became minister of the 
Parish of Lower Beverly where he remained until his acceptance of 
the Presidency of Bowdoin. "The society was not without its divi- 
sions, political and religious. McKeen was not quite orthodox in 
the opinion of some of his parishioners, nor so liberal in his theologi- 
cal views as others would have liked. But he was candid, upright, 
prudent and conciliatory. He soon showed himself to be a man of 
great ability and learning and of excellent judgment. Under his 
faithful and peaceful ministry the discordant elements subsided, and 
for the most part seemed to coalesce. . . . 

"Thus faithful in his pastoral and pulpit duties, he still found time 
to prosecute his favorite studies. Some evidence of this may be found 
in the early transactions of the American Academy. On one oc- 
casion, long remembered in Essex County, his mathematical science 
was most humanely employed. A man was on trial for house-break- 
ing. On the question whether it occurred by night or by day, his life 
depended. A nice calculation by Dr. McKeen in regard to the pre- 
cise moment of dawn saved the culprit from the gallows." 

Mr. McKeen displayed the same qualities as president that he had 
as pastor. 

President McKeen was distinguished not for the possession of one 
ability or virtue in an extraordinary degree, but for the harmonious 
balance of many. Nehemiah Cleaveland says of him: "He had a 
countenance that was both winning and commanding. The engraving 
[in Mr. Cleaveland's history of the college] does him only partial 
justice, having been made up from a simple profile outline. In man- 
ners he was gentlemanly, easy, affable — a man whom everybody 
liked and respected, too, for he could not have been more correct in 
his deportment or more upright in his conduct had he been ever so 



16 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

stiffly starched. He was mild and yet firm. He was dignified yet 
perfectly accessible. He was serious and yet habitually cheerful. 
Such was the admirable union of qualities that fitted him for his 
high station." 

Fortunate in its choice of a president, the college was less so in 
that of a professor. Mr. Abbot was a member of the famous Abbot 
family. He was a graduate of Harvard and for five years served as 
a tutor there. Prevented by ill health from entering the ministry 
he went into business, became cashier of a Portland bank, and was 
called from this position to the professorship of ancient languages 
at Bowdoin. There can be little doubt that he was unfitted for the 
place. Mr. Cleaveland says of him : "His early reputation for classical 
scholarship if measured by the standard of that day was probably 
not undeserved, but among other and perhaps more congenial pur- 
suits his learning had become somewhat rusty, and he was not the 
man to renew still less to brighten its lustre." Professor Packard is 
more severe. He says : "Classical teaching in my day was altogether 
inefficient. The first professor was more skilful in exploring the wild 
lands of the college on the Piscataquis, and in introducing choice 
fruits in this and neighboring towns than in inspiring students with 
love for Greek." Mr. Abbot was awkward and absentminded, an 
easy victim of practical jokes, so that in after years his very name 
provoked a smile. There was no malice in the student laughter, they 
knew that beneath the oddities and simplicities at which they made 
merry there was a gentle, kindly spirit ; but a regard of pupil for 
instructor which has more of pity than of admiration in it, is not for 
the best good either of the teacher or the taught. 

In 1816 Mr. Abbot exchanged his office of professor for that of 
treasurer, for which he was better qualified. His fitness was due not 
so much to his earlier business experience as to his readiness to do 
the work of an explorer. "The condition of the college property, 
much of it being in wild lands, imposed duties such as rarely devolve 
on the fiscal agent of a literary institution. In discharge of these he 
visited the distant and pathless forest, spending weeks sometimes in 
exploration and survey, beyond the outer limit of the settlements." 



THE FOUNDING OF BOWDOIN 17 

In recognition of his services the college gave the name of Abbot to 
one of its townships. 

In 1829 mental infirmity compelled Mr. Abbot to resign his po- 
sition. He lived for some years with a nephew in Waterford and was 
then placed in the McLean Asylum. 

"Though his mental faculties had become unbalanced, his closing 
years were not unhappy. A harmless and cheerful delusion still 
prompted him to labors of usefulness. His old hobby of planting 
and grafting was resuscitated and carried him into many grand and 
costly schemes of improved gardening. In the asylum at Somerville 
where he was under the respectful care of Dr. Luther V. Bell, him- 
self a distinguished son of Bowdoin, though he sometimes complained 
of restraint he was generally in a state of ecstasy, the gallantry and 
visions of his youth returned and his wedding day was always at 
hand." 

Shortly before his death Mr. Abbot was removed to the old family 
home at Andover where he died in 1845. 

The Boards having obtained a Faculty had now to provide for its 
induction into office. Immediately there appeared a difficulty which 
was to embarrass the college for many years, it possessed no build- 
ing suitable for large public functions ; and in 1802 the town of 
Brunswick suffered under a like disability. It was therefore de- 
termined to hold the exercises in the open air. A space was cleared 
in the college pines, a large platform erected, and September 2 fixed 
for the inauguration. About noon of that day "a procession was 
formed at the House for the College and moved to the place of in- 
stallation in the following order : 

1. The Committee of Arrangement. 

2. The Secretaries of the Boards of Trustees and Overseers, 
one with the Charter and Seal, the other with the College 
Laws. 

3. The Treasurer with the Keys. 

4. The Rev. Dr. Deane, Vice President of the College [that is 
of the Trustees], 

5. The Trustees two and two. 

6. President and Professor-elect. 



18 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

7. President and Vice President of the Board of Overseers. 

8. The Overseers two and two. 

9. The Clergy and Gentlemen of distinction invited to dine at 
the Hall." 

A large number of spectators had assembled to witness the open- 
ing of a college in Maine and a full account of the ceremony ap- 
peared in the Portland Gazette; after describing the preliminaries, it 
said: "The President of the Overseers at the call of the Vice Presi- 
dent of the Trustees declared the name of the college house to be 
Massachusetts Hall and delivered a short address pertinent to the 
occasion. After this followed a prayer by the Rev. Mr. Kellogg; 
after which the Vice President of the Trustees addressed the Presi- 
dent Elect in Latin and inducted him into his office by delivering to 
him the Seal — books — Charter and Keys, seating him in the Presi- 
dent's chair and declaring him in the Name of the Trustees and 
Overseers President of Bowdoin College. 

The President then in English delivered his inaugural oration, to 
which a reply was made in English by the Vice President of the Trus- 
tees ; to which succeeded a prayer by the Rev. Mr. Lancaster, fol- 
lowed with singing which closed that part of the exercises of the day 
[that is, the inauguration of the President]. 

The President then offered a prayer, made an address in Latin to 
Mr. Abbot and having obtained leave from the Boards declared him 
Professor of Languages." Professor Abbot delivered a speech in 
Latin, there was more singing and the procession returned to Mas- 
sachusetts Hall and partook of a dinner, which appears to have been 
provided by the generous Dr. Coffin of Brunswick, the secretary of 
the Trustees, for the Boards directed that he be paid therefor the 
sum of one hundred and eleven dollars from the first money not other- 
wise appropriated which should come into the treasury. 

The Boards voted that copies of the addresses of the President 
and the Professor be requested and that if obtained they be pub- 
lished. Apparently none was received from Professor Abbot, but 
President McKeen complied with the desire of the Boards and a 
pamphlet copy of his inaugural is preserved in the college library. 

The speech is very interesting, appropriate, clear, frank and 



THE FOUNDING OF BOWDOIN 19 

able, but perhaps a trifle more conservative than might have been 
expected from a broad-minded man like President McKeen. The 
President began by speaking at some length of the disadvantages 
which had hindered the development of Maine. He said that the In- 
dians had been numerous and hostile, the settlements scattered, and 
necessary supplies obtainable only by importations from other dis- 
tricts. "Add to this that deep and strong prejudices prevailed 
against the soil and climate, by which immigrants were discouraged 
and the population of the district long reduced. These mistakes 
have yielded to the correcting hand of time, and Maine is rapidly 
advancing to that state of maturity in which, without being forci- 
bly plucked she will drop from her parent stock." The President 
then spoke of the need of education in law, medicine and theology, as 
well as in the mechanic arts, with a thrust at "illiterate vagrants 
who understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm." 10 
President McKeen said: "that the inhabitants of the District may 
have of their own sons to fill the liberal professions among them, and 
particularly to instruct them in the principles and practices of our 
holy religion is doubtless the object of this institution, and an ob- 
ject it is, worthy of the liberal patronage of the enlightened and 
patriotic legislature which laid its foundations, and of the aid its 
funds have received from several gentlemen especially from that 
friend of science whose name it bears. It ought always to be remem- 
bered, that literary institutions are founded and endowed for the 
common good, and not for the private advantage of those who re- 
sort to them for education. It is not that they may be able to pass 
through life in an easy or reputable manner, but that their mental 
powers may be cultivated and improved for the benefit of society. 
If it be true no man should live for himself alone, we may safely as- 
sert that every man who has been aided by a public institution to 
acquire an education and to qualify himself for usefulness, is under 
peculiar obligations to exert his talents for the public good." 

It had been the custom of New England colleges to treat their 

10 The persons so uncomplimentarily referred to were the itinerant Methodist 
and Baptist preachers who were going up and down the District and sorely dis- 
turbing the peace of the dignified Congregationalist clergy, who had been the 
rulers of what, in fact though not in law, was an Established Church. 



20 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

students like boys, which, indeed, many of them were. At home their 
goings out and their comings in had been carefully watched, and 
their reading and study supervised. The colleges regarded them- 
selves as standing in loco parentis and answerable to God that these 
selected youths, many of whom were intended for the soul-saving 
profession of the ministry, should have their minds trained in an 
orthodox manner. But among the liberal movements of the latter 
half of the eighteenth century was one for a reform in education and 
this included a demand that men in college should be allowed more 
freedom in the choice of the subjects that they studied and in the 
manner in which they employed their time. In his inaugural, Presi- 
dent McKeen favored a reasonably broad curriculum, for that day, 
but he opposed the establishment of what would now be called an 
elective system, maintained the need of strict discipline, and preached 
with clearness and force the doctrine of hard work. He appealed to 
the Boards to support the Faculty against the efforts of parents to 
obtain a relaxation of the college rules and argued that while the 
taste and genius of a young man should be considered in assigning 
his studies, habits of industry and investigation were of greater im- 
portance and that there was serious danger in making the acquisition 
of knowledge easy. 

"I declare," he said, "that in my opinion a youth had better be 
four years employed, 'nihil operose agendo,' in diligently doing what 
would be utterly useless to him in life, than in light reading which re- 
quires no thinking." 

The President again asked the Boards for cooperation in maintain- 
ing such rules and regulations as would keep the students occupied 
as much as was possible without injury to their health, saying that, 
"Employment will contribute not a little to the preservation of their 
morals, the prevention of unnecessary and the preclusion of perni- 
cious customs which, once introduced cannot be easily abolished." 
Mr. McKeen concluded with an earnest request that all present 
would exert their influence in favor of the institution and would "im- 
plore the great Father of light, knowledge, and all good, that his 
blessing may descend upon this seminary, that it may eminently con- 




The Tiiorndike Oak 



THE FOUNDING OF BOWDOIN 21 

tribute to the advancement of useful knowledge, the religion of Jesus 
Christ, the best interest of man and the glory of God." 

On the next day eight applicants presented themselves for admis- 
sion, all passed the first entrance examinations and were duly re- 
ceived as students at Bowdoin and college exercises began. The 
youngest "man" in the entering class was George Thorndike, aged 
thirteen and a half, a son of the wealthy Salem merchant, Israel 
Thorndike, a parishioner and warm admirer of President McKeen. 
The oldest student was also from Salem. He was John Davis, a 
carpenter, aged twenty-three, a protege of Mr. Thorndike who be- 
lieved that Davis would profit by a college education. But one other 
student had reached the age of sixteen although a second had almost 
done so. Three of the class were from Massachusetts, the remainder 
from Maine. 

What is probably the best known incident in the history of the 
college occurred when the students came out of Massachusetts Hall 
after the first chapel exercises. George Thorndike saw with sur- 
prise a live acorn lying on the ground though no oaks were near. 11 
Little James McKeen, the four-year-old son of the President, was 
standing by, watching the students and playing a drum. Thorndike 
snatched the drumstick, dug a hole beside the steps of Massachusetts 
Hall and buried the acorn. If the recollections of young McKeen 
given many years later can be trusted, Thorndike declared that he 
could not hope to win distinction as a lawyer, minister or business 
man but that he would do that which would make him remembered 
when his companions were forgotten. If indeed he said this the 
words were strangely prophetic. Thorndike's health failed and he 
died in Russia when not quite twenty-two 12 but the Oak still lives. 
Thorndike, himself, transplanted it to the President's garden. After 
his graduation Presidents McKeen, Appleton and Allen watched 
over it until its future was assured. Professor Little says in his 
Historical Sketch: "It has slowly but, steadily, grown, and succes- 
sive classes have held their farewell exercises beneath its boughs. 

11 The dining hall had been festooned with oak leaves for the inauguration 
dinner and this probably explains the presence of the acorn. 

12 The first Bowdoin alumnus but not the first Bowdoin man to die. His class- 
mate, Ebenezer Wood, died at sea in the summer of his Freshman year. 



22 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

It stands not only as a memorial of that youth who was the first to 
die of a long line of graduates but also as an emblem of the institu- 
tion which has often suffered from the lack of material resources 
just as the tree has felt the natural poverty of the soil which sus- 
tains it." In the thirty years which have passed since these words 
were written, large gifts and bequests have done much to supply the 
ever-increasing needs of the college. It has been less easy to in- 
vigorate the oak, and only the application of careful tree surgery 
has saved its life. But it is with us still, the knowledge of arbori- 
culture will doubtless increase and the members of the more than 
fifty classes who have smoked the pipe of peace and performed other 
ceremonies beneath its boughs may hope that their sons and sons' 
sons will do likewise, through Bowdoin's second century and beyond. 



CHAPTER II 

THE ADMINISTRATIONS OF PRESIDENTS McKEEN 
AND APPLETON 



THE beginning of instruction at Bowdoin imposed on President 
McKeen the duty of fixing the conditions of entrance. "With 
a wise boldness he adopted the same qualifications for admission that 
were then required at Harvard. These were a knowledge of the prin- 
ciples of the Latin and Greek languages, the ability to translate 
English into Latin, to read the Select Orations of Cicero, the Aeneid 
of Virgil, and an acquaintance with arithmetic as far as the rule of 
three. The young college stood in this respect in advance of others 
older and wealthier. 

Of the exact course of study ... no definite statement seems to 
be extant. There is little doubt, however, that it was similar to that 
pursued a few years later and outlined below. 

Latin, Greek, and mathematics were studied almost continuously 
during the first three years, Horace, Juvenal, and Cicero being the 
Latin authors read, while Dalzell's Collectanea Graeca Majora and 
Webber's Mathematics were the bulky textbooks that supplied ma- 
terial for study in the other two branches. Rhetoric and elocution 
were taught by exercises throughout most of the course. Geography 
was a Freshman, logic a Sophomore, and Locke on the Human Un- 
derstanding, a Junior study. Paley's Evidences of Christianity, 
Butler's Analogy of Religion, Stewart's Elements of the Philosophy 
of the Mind, Priestley's Lectures on History, Burlamaqui's Natural 
Law, Enfield's Natural Philosophy, and Chaptal's Chemistry were 
textbooks used during the Senior year. As a rule, college recitations 
were literally recitations. The words of the author and not of the 
learner were sought. In the classics, construing, i.e., giving the 



24 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

equivalent of each word rather than translating into connected sen- 
tences, was everywhere in vogue. President McKeen evidenced a dis- 
position to break away from the old methods, as may be inferred 
from the following account by one of his first pupils t 1 "As a teacher 
in mathematics he was lucid and uncommonly successful in his illus- 
trations. The exemplifications of abstract propositions by models 
has been introduced into modern practice; but at the time referred 
to, it was, if at all, sparingly used. With Mr. McKeen it was a 
familiar custom. Some of the principles of conic sections, in par- 
ticular, were so illustrated. As a teacher of historical science he 
evinced a philosophic mind and generalized its lessons with happy 
effect and useful results. As a teacher of intellectual and moral 
philosophy he exhibited a thorough comprehension of his subject and 
was felicitous in gathering illustrations from actual life. . . . 

"Dr. McKeen had eminent administrative and gubernatorial talent. 
He very highly estimated the efficiency of what is termed 'moral sua- 
sion,' but probably never dreamed of its being the exclusive means of 
government. He never mistook men for angels." 

Mr. O'Brien knew whereof he spoke, as is shown by the first entry 
on the Faculty Records, which is an admonition of John O'Brien 
and Moses Quinby for fighting. It is the first of a long series, for 
such rebukes were delivered in chapel before the students by the 
President, and then entered in full on the Faculty Records. It is 
quoted, except for the names, in Professor Little's Historical Sketch 
and is an excellent illustration of the paternal-ministerial attitude 
which the Faculty of that day believed it their duty to assume 
toward the undergraduates. 

"The punishments inflicted for misbehavior during this adminis- 
tration and the two following were fines, public admonition and sus- 
pension. The first were imposed for neglect of college duties and 
minor irregularities. The second was employed when private re- 
proof, and warnings seemed without avail. Suspension or rustica- 
tion was always for a considerable period of time. The culprit was 
required to reside with and be instructed by a clergyman selected by 

1 John M. O'Brien of the class of 1806. The extract is taken from an address 
delivered by him at the semi-centennial of the opening of the college. 



PRESIDENTS MCKEEN AND APPLETON 25 

the Faculty. The result was usually a change in the character of 
the young man or his permanent separation from the institution." 1 

The rules for the infraction of which punishment was thus provid- 
ed were numerous and were, as far as possible, strictly enforced. The 
President and the other members of the Faculty visited the rooms of 
the students frequently and performed the roles of detective-police- 
men. Nehemiah Cleaveland, a graduate of the class of 1813, and for 
three years a tutor, says in his history that, "From the Faculty Rec- 
ord of that day ... it is not easy to avoid the feeling that the 
cases of summary punishment bore an undue proportion to the whole 
number of students." Some offenses would not be considered wrong 
today except, perhaps, by men of rigid and old-fashioned views. 
Henry Wood was fined one dollar for unnecessary riding on the Sab- 
bath, and three students were fined fifty cents each for playing cards. 
On March 14, 1814, the Faculty voted that "Whereas, it appears to 
have been a practice in college to furnish an entertainment in conse- 
quence of having received an assignment of parts for exhibition, or 
commencement, a practice irrational in itself and productive of nu- 
merous evils to the students, and to the institution, therefore Voted 
that if any student shall in future be concerned either in furnishing 
or partaking of, such entertainment, his part shall be taken from 
him, or he shall be admonished or suspended, according to the cir- 
cumstances of the case." 

Lockouts, hazing, and depredation on the live-stock and other 
property of the citizens of Brunswick early tried the souls of the 
Bowdoin Faculty. Their Records of March, 1807, state that a Sen- 
ior, Samuel P. Abbot, was summoned before them and that "It . . . ap- 
peared that the said Abbot on the evening of the 13th instant was 
concerned in the fastening of the doors of said College [Massa- 
chusetts Hall] in such a manner that they could not be opened from 
without, with an intention to prevent the entrance of some of his 
fellow-students, thereby disturbing the peace and good order which 
ought ever to prevail within the walls of said College. 

"And whereas such conduct must be highly injurious to the char- 

x * Sometimes a Professor acted as warden and reformer. Robert P. Dunlap, 
afterwards Governor of Maine, was committed to Professor Cleaveland for cut- 
ting chapel. 



26 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

acter and morals of all concerned, and by the evil example tend to 
the manifest injury of the other members of said College, and be- 
come destructive to the reputation of the Institution itself," there- 
fore for this and other offenses the Faculty suspended Abbot for nine 
months. 2 

In October of this year there was a raid upon a poultry yard, 
temporarily successful, but in the end disastrous. On October 29, 
1807, the Faculty voted that "Whereas, on examination, it appears 
that Andrew Thorndike, [a Beverly boy but not to be confused with 
George] a member of said College, was, on the evening of the 22d in- 
stant, guilty of unlawfully driving away, taking and killing a goose, 
the property of an inhabitant of the town of Brunswick; by which 
theft the said Thorndike has transgressed the laws of civil society 
and violated the moral law of God ; and whereas such conduct is in 
its nature base and disgraceful, Voted, that the said Andrew Thorn- 
dike be, and he is accordingly suspended for the term of eight 
months ..." Two other students concerned in the affair were sus- 
pended for six and eight months respectively. 

The custom of sign stealing is of very early origin. In 1815 
Charles Q. Clapp was found guilty of being "concerned in removing 
a sign-board from the store of Mr. C. Cushing, a citizen of this town, 
and on the following night in affixing the same to the desk of the 
chapel." On being asked who were his confederates Clapp named a 
recent graduate then practicing law in Brunswick, who, when in col- 
lege, had been frequently disciplined by the Faculty. Clapp subse- 
quently confessed that his story was wholly false, refused to betray 
his accomplices, was rusticated, and never returned to college. 

Punishments were often inflicted for the unauthorized possession 
and use of firearms, the making of bonfires, and the setting off of 
fireworks. S. P. Abbot was twice found guilty of the improper use of 
pistols, and once of refusing to give them up though ordered to do so 
by a member of the Faculty. In 1818 five students were fined fifty 
cents each, "for playing off fire-works on the evening of July 3." 
Such actions were forbidden, partly to preserve the scholastic quiet 

2 This is the first instance of suspension in the records. 



PRESIDENTS MCKEEN AND APPLETON 27 

befitting an institution of learning, and partly because they were 
dangerous. 

The Faculty was not infrequently called on to deal with cases of 
drunkenness and, sometimes, of unchastity. Professor Little says : 
"The habits of society at that time and the circumstance that the 
students, for the first twenty years of the college's existence were 
mostly from the wealthier classes in the community, made intemper- 
ance a formidable foe to college order and morality. The tempta- 
tion to drink to excess, if opportunity be considered a part of temp- 
tation, was surely far greater than at the present day, while the per- 
sonal oversight conscientiously exercised by college officers, living in 
the buildings, made every shortcoming known. The failures of men 
well disposed and generally correct were not overlooked. On one oc- 
casion a young man who afterward became a faithful and honored 
pastor, was publicly admonished for having been overcome with liq- 
uor. There is no reason to believe that intemperance and kindred 
vices were more prevalent at Bowdoin than at other colleges at this 
period, but it seems proper to mention the earnest and open measures 
taken to check them." To the credit of the authorities be it said 
that a student did not escape punishment on account of his family. 
Francis Waldo, a grandson of General Samuel Waldo, and William 
C. Wilde, son of Samuel Sumner Wilde, then a leading lawyer of the 
District of Maine and soon to become a judge of the Massachusetts 
Supreme Court, were both publicly admonished. Later, Wilde was 
suspended for six months and Waldo was dismissed from college. 

The difficulty of keeping some of the youth of Bowdoin within the 
bounds of studious propriety was not the only one which the college 
authorities had to face. The teaching force and the quarters for the 
students were both inadequate. The former need was the first to be 
met. "On the admission of a third class in 1804, Mr. Samuel Wil j 
lard, a recent graduate of Harvard and for many years afterward 
pastor of the Church at Deerfield, Mass., was engaged as a tutor. 
For the next two decades, the practice was followed of increasing the 
body of instructors, by the annual appointment of one or more 
tutors, who lived in the college buildings and were expected to exer- 
cise personal influence upon the students and maintain control over 



28 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

those who showed themselves unruly." The tutors were usually 
young men preparing themselves for the ministry and they came to 
Bowdoin less for the modest salary received than for the assistance 
which they obtained from the President in fitting themselves for their 
lifework. Two of the best known in after life were Benjamin Tap- 
pan, a highly esteemed pastor of a Congregationalist church at 
Augusta, and Andrews Norton, for many years a learned and stal- 
wart leader of the Unitarians of Massachusetts, and father of Pro- 
fessor Charles Eliot Norton. 

Closely following the introduction of the tutorial system came 
the establishment of a professorship of mathematics and natural and 
experimental philosophy, and the choice to fill it of Parker Cleave- 
land, one of the greatest teachers that Bowdoin ever had. Mr. 
Cleaveland was born at Rowley, Massachusetts, on January 15, 
1780, of good old New England stock. His emigrant ancestor, 
Moses Cleaveland, came to America in 1635, and the Moses Cleave- 
land who helped found Cleveland, Ohio, and for whom the city was 
named, and President Grover Cleveland were distant relatives of the 
Professor. Parker Cleaveland was fitted for college at Dummer Acad- 
emy, and at the age of fifteen entered Harvard. There he won the 
affection of his comrades by his kindly, social disposition, and the 
regard of his instructors by the excellence of his work in the class- 
room. He graduated at the age of nineteen with the reputation of 
being the most promising man in his class. He then taught school 
for four years, nearly three of which were passed at York, Maine, 
where he showed in a high degree the same qualities which later dis- 
tinguished him at Bowdoin. 

In 1803 he was appointed tutor in mathematics and natural phil- 
osophy at Harvard and served with credit for two years. He did not, 
however, plan to make teaching his life work but studied both for 
the ministry and the bar. He finally decided in favor of the latter 
and had made considerable progress in his preparation when he was 
called to the new professorship at Bowdoin. 2 * Some of his Cambridge 

2 * The selection was made by Professor Abbot to whom that important duty 
had been entrusted. Mr. Abbot stated, so President Woods tells us, "that he pro- 
ceeded with caution, and did not fix until he had made very extensive inquiries, 
and was completely satisfied where to fix; that he considered practical and social 
qualities as highly important, and that the answers to his inquiries gave him full 
satisfaction on that point." 



PRESIDENTS MCKEEN AND APPLETON 29 

friends wished him to refuse, feeling that Bowdoin was acting in an 
improper manner in thus trying to steal one of Harvard's valued in- 
structors, but they were told that Mr. Cleaveland had already deter- 
mined to resign his tutorship and that his acceptance of a professor- 
ship at Bowdoin "would do much to raise the usefulness and reputa- 
tion of that infantile seminary." Mr. Cleaveland, himself, was much 
less assured of success and felt it the part of prudence to decline the 
call. His answer, however, implied that, had the invitation come a 
year later when he had been admitted to the bar and would thus have 
had a profession to fall back upon in case of failure, he might have 
returned a different reply. Professor Abbot suggested to him that 
he could take a certificate stating the amount of work which he had 
already done in preparing for the law, and so prevent the time thus 
spent from being lost. Mr. Cleaveland accepted the advice, withdrew 
his declination and on October 23, 1805, was formally inducted into 
the Bowdoin professorship. His apprehension of failure proved to- 
tally unwarranted. He won high praise from European scholars of 
the first rank, and from over fifty classes of Bowdoin men an enthu- 
siastic devotion compounded of admiration for the teacher and affec- 
tion for the man. His scholastic fame, however, was due, in con- 
siderable measure, to accidents of time and place. In 1807 it became 
necessary, in order to facilitate the floating of lumber from one of 
the Brunswick mills, partly to excavate a ledge ; in doing this various 
minerals were found, including fine quartz and iron pyrites, which, to 
the ignorant lumbermen, looked like diamonds and gold. The science 
professor at the college was promptly consulted but found himself at 
a loss. Mineralogy in America was still in its infancy. Mr. Cleave- 
land later stated that when he graduated from Harvard he did not 
know that there was more than one kind of rock in the world. But the 
discovery at Brunswick roused his interest in the subject, and he be- 
came an ardent student and searcher for specimens. A cavern near 
his old home was explored with most gratifying results. 

Mr. Cleaveland was prompt in sharing his new knowledge. As Pro- 
fessor of Natural Philosophy he dealt mostly with physics, but in 
the spring of 1808 he delivered a course of lectures on chemistry 
and mineralogy. At the next Commencement the Boards showed 



30 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

their appreciation of this addition to the curriculum by voting Mr. 
Cleaveland a bonus of two hundred dollars, and a like increase of his 
annual salary on condition of his continuing the lectures. In 1816 
he sought a wider audience by the publication of "An Elementary 
Treatise on Mineralogy and Geology." The work made its author 
famous in both America and Europe. This was partly due to the 
timeliness of its appearance. A few years earlier it might have 
failed from lack of public interest in its subject, some years later it 
might have found its field already occupied; but in 1816 while the 
study of mineralogy had begun seriously in the United States the 
means for a broad and scholarly treatment of it were lacking. The 
great French and German works were still untranslated and more- 
over they gave little or no information on the rocks and minerals 
of the United States. Some Americans had written able articles on 
parts of the subject but none of them had ever attempted a com- 
plete view. Mineralogists were then divided into two schools, the 
French who classified minerals by their chemical composition and 
internal structure, and the German who arranged them according to 
external appearance. "Professor Cleaveland does not hesitate to say 
with the French school that the true composition of minerals should 
be the basis of arrangement, so far as it is known; but that when it 
is not known, or until it becomes known, the external characters 
may be provisionally employed for the purpose of classification ; and 
further, that while minerals may be most scientifically arranged ac- 
cording to their internal composition, they may be best described by 
their external characters. In thus combining the excellencies of the 
French and German schools, Professor Cleaveland does not claim to 
be original. He refers in his preface to Brogniart as having effected 
with good success the union of the descriptive language of the one 
and the scientific arrangement of the other. But while his work was 
formed on the model of Brogniart, it was executed in a manner en- 
tirely his own, and gives assurance of a master's hand. It not only 
placed the labors of the great European mineralogists before the 
American public in an accessible and attractive form, but by add- 
ing new species and new localities acquired an American character, 
and did something to pay the debt of science which America was 



PRESIDENTS MCKEEN AND APPLETON 31 

then owing to Europe." The work received the highest praise both at 
home and abroad. Professor Silliman of Yale, after approving the 
plan of the book, said: "The manner of execution is masterly. Dis- 
crimination, perspicuity, judicious selection of characters and facts, 
and a style chaste, manly and comprehensive are among the attri- 
butes of Professor Cleaveland's performance." The Edinburgh Re- 
view expressed a wish that the Mineralogy might be reprinted in 
England and said that it had no doubt that the book would be found 
the most useful work on the subject in the English language. Pro- 
fessor Clarke of Cambridge University selected it for use in his lec- 
tures and declared it better than any other. Humboldt, the great 
German scientist, borrowed the copy belonging to the Geological So- 
ciety in London and forgot to return it. Perhaps "swiping," to use 
a college term, should rank with imitation as the sincerest form of 
tlattery. Many of the greatest scientists of Europe, such men as 
Brewster, Davy, Berlioz, and Cuvier, wrote to Professor Cleaveland 
congratulating him on his book, and most of them became his regu- 
lar correspondents. The leading scientific societies both at home 
and abroad elected him to membership. Bowdoin men, of course, 
took great pride in such recognition. Equally honorable but less 
pleasing was the reception of calls to various American colleges. 
The College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, William and 
Mary in Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, 
Princeton, and Harvard made him more or less formal offers of a 
professorship. Some of these institutions would have paid twice the 
salary which he was then receiving. But after much hesitation Pro- 
fessor Cleaveland resolved, to use his own expression, to "stay by 
old Bowdoin." 

Many thought this decision unfortunate. While Professor Cleave- 
land was considering the call to Harvard, an article appeared in the 
Boston Advertiser which was unsigned but was supposed to be writ- 
ten by Edward Everett. Mr. Everett urged that it was very desir- 
able that a man so able and learned as Professor Cleaveland should 
no longer be compelled to devote to mere elementary teaching — a 
duty which younger men could perform as well — so large a propor- 
tion of the strength and time that might otherwise be given to origi- 



32 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

nal investigations, and to labors that would extend the area of 
science. But those who knew Professor Cleaveland best took a dif- 
ferent view. Rev. Dr. Parish, who had strongly advised him to 
accept the call to Bowdoin, said years afterward to the Professor's 
cousin, Nehemiah Cleaveland: "How few there are who get into the 
places for which nature intended them ! Your kinsman is a marked 
exception. He has found the very niche that was made for him and 
fills it to admiration." Nehemiah Cleaveland, himself, held a like 
opinion and President Woods in his appreciative but discriminating 
memorial address on Professor Cleaveland says that his high intel- 
lectual powers would have assured him success in any field that he 
might have chosen but that they were particularly adapted to the 
one "to which he was so early called and which he actually filled for 
so long a time. His mind was practical and even realistic in its turn, 
rather than speculative; clear in perception rather than profound 
in insight ; strong in its grasp of great principles, rather than acute 
and discriminating in analysis ; better skilled in the orderly arrange- 
ment of facts and the plain statement of laws, than in the deeper 
intuitions or higher generalizations of science; — a constitution of 
mind better adapted to the teaching, than to the discovery of truth,, 
and to the teaching of the physical, rather than of the metaphysical 
sciences." 

These opinions are confirmed by Mr. Cleaveland's achievements, 
and failures to achieve. Even the famous Mineralogy was but an 
original and very clear exposition of the discoveries and methods of 
others. Among the scientific apparatus at Bowdoin was an electri- 
cal magnet such as only two other institutions in the country pos- 
sessed. With this remarkable instrument Professor Henry of Prince- 
ton made important discoveries in electro-magnetism, but Professor 
Cleaveland none. Mr. Cleaveland did indeed publish in 1812 a great- 
ly enlarged edition of the Mineralogy, but though it was eagerly 
received and the scientific world clamored for a third edition it never 
came. There had been a change of interest. From the first, chemistry 
had made a strong appeal to Mr. Cleaveland. In the winter vaca- 
tions of 1818, 1819, and 1820 he delivered at Hallowell, Portland 
and Portsmouth, a series of chemical lectures illustrated by experi- 



PRESIDENTS MCKEEN AND APPLETON 33 

ments. President Woods says: "If we may judge from the accounts 
of some who were present never were lectures more successful though 
strictly scientific, they commanded large and delighted audiences 
and became the general subject of conversation in this and neighbor- 
ing towns." In 1820 a medical school was established in connection 
with the college and Mr. Cleaveland was elected Professor of Chemis- 
try and Secretary of the Faculty. The new duties made large drafts 
both on his time and his affections. His extension course came to an 
end. He watched and fostered the growth of the Medical School as a 
mother does that of her child. The elucidation of chemistry had 
now the charm for him which had formerly belonged to the exposi- 
tion of mineralogy. But America had less need of general works on 
chemistry than on mineralogy and Mr. Cleaveland became the "Single 
Speech Hamilton" of American Science. 

If, however, he failed to maintain the position in the world at 
large, which he had gained in early manhood, he molded the minds 
and won the hearts of generations of Bowdoin students by his fa- 
mous lectures on chemistry and by his lovable and original character. 

The lectures were described in an article in the Bugle written soon 
after Mr. Cleaveland's death. The author was probably Stephen J. 
Young, then a Junior in college, later its Librarian, Professor of 
Modern Languages, and Treasurer. Mr. Young said in part : "The 
reputation of Prof. Cleaveland as a teacher of the Natural Sciences 
stands confessedly unrivalled. The cause of his remarkable success 
in instruction is perfectly evident to one who has enjoyed the great 
privilege of being his pupil, and yet such a degree of perfection as an 
instructor has never been attained by another. In all his demonstra- 
tions, definitions, and questions he combined the faculties of concise- 
ness and clearness to a degree and in a manner apparently impos- 
sible. No pupil of his will ever forget his scrupulous politeness and 
affability, while they also remember his rigid and unalterable rules 
of discipline, his own remarkable punctuality, which led him to ex- 
pect the same from all who were in any manner connected with him. 
They will also long remember his patience and kindness in imparting 
knowledge and his never ceasing exertions to make every pupil a 
participant in his own vast acquirements." Elijah Kellogg says: 



34 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

"There was such a magnetic influence emanating from him that it 
was impossible to remain unaffected. He could make the most ab- 
struse subject intensely interesting. There was a freshness about it ; 
he brought it home, made it live, connected it with actual life ; made 
one feel that here is something which has to do with the comforts, 
luxuries and progress of the race ; with railroads, steamboats, crops, 
and the bread and butter of the whole community; with all that is 
beautiful, as well as useful and necessary ; which makes a rifle su- 
perior to a bow and arrow, a ship to an Indian canoe. 

"In the class room and laboratory he ruled as King and woe to 
the wight who dared disturb him there, but any one who sought him in 
his house or while working in his garden found 'Old Cleave' cordial 
and kind as a parent, full of humor and information. For a student 
who said unprepared in recitation he had no mercy but to one who 
attempted to recite the Professor would put leading questions — 
questions that could be answered by yes or no, and with infinite tact 
contrive to inform them where yes or no came in." 

Of course Professor Cleaveland was extremely popular. But the 
esteem and affection did not cease when his boys had reached matur- 
ity and were judging their former teachers not merely by their kind- 
ness of heart, but by what they had done to fit their pupils for the 
battle of life. Some of Bowdoin's most famous alumni have ex- 
pressed in the strongest terms their admiration for Professor 
Cleaveland. Jacob Abbot, when sending a subscription to a fund for 
procuring an engraving of Professor Cleaveland for the Bowdoin 
Memorial, said he was glad to acknowledge in any way his obliga- 
tions to the instructor to whom he owed more than to all others, 
since it was by him that his mind was first wakened to activity, dis- 
ciplined to exactness, and made in some degree conscious of its 
powers. John A. Andrew, in an address at the Salem Normal School, 
said that he thought that he could best convey his idea of what a 
teacher should be by giving a somewhat minute delineation of the 
best one he ever knew; and then described Professor Cleaveland. 
Most famous of all the tributes is Longfellow's sonnet in memory of 
his former teacher and colleague. It was written after the poet's 
return from the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of his gradua- 



PRESIDENTS MCKEEN AND APPLETON 35 

tion, was sent to Mr. Cleaveland's daughter, at whose house Long- 
fellow had stayed, and now hangs on the wall of the stairway leading 
to the "Cleaveland Cabinet" in Massachusetts Hall. 

Professor Cleaveland gave valuable service not only as a scholar 
and teacher but also as an administrator. Shortly after his death 
President Woods wrote to one of the Trustees : "The government are 
beginning to feel the loss of Professor Cleaveland. A vast amount of 
little detail devolved upon him because he could do it so much easier 
and better than any one else. Who will perform the drudgery now I 
cannot see. In the business of accounts it was to me a great relief to 
be connected with one who was so correct and prompt, and who un- 
derstood the matter so thoroughly." 

When Mr. Cleaveland was elected to his professorship, the vote 
was unanimous ; but the Boards were soon confronted with a similar 
but more perplexing task, the choice of a new president. President 
McKeen was called to Bowdoin at forty-five years of age. He ap- 
peared to be in vigorous health and justified in anticipating a long 
and useful period of service. But it was not to be. He started the 
new college on its way and gave it worthy standards, both of schol- 
arship and character, for the youth whom it should receive into its 
care. He conducted the first class through its course, but a disease, 
dropsy, which had troubled him for a year, then became much worse ; 
for some months he was unable to teach; a trip to Beverly, in the 
hope of regaining strength at his former home, proved unavailing; 
he returned to Brunswick and died there on July 15, 1807. "His 
sickness had been long and distressing and had been borne with 
Christian fortitude and submission." 

The Boards, as a token of respect to his memory and to his fami- 
ly, appropriated three hundred dollars to defray the expenses of his 
"sickness and death," and one hundred dollars for a monument, to be 
erected under the direction of the Faculty, and allowed the family 
of Mr. McKeen to occupy the President's house until it should be 
needed for the use of the college. In 1820 Bowdoin sold to the town 
of Brunswick two acres of land for a cemetery; but reserved the 
right to use a strip eighteen rods long by one and a half rods wide 
for burial lots. The remains of President McKeen, and his monu- 



36 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

ment, were transferred to the new' cemetery, and in 1829, and again 
in 1842, the monument was repaired at the expense of the college. 

On September 1, 1807, the Boards attempted to elect a successor 
to President McKeen. Only ten Trustees were present, and their first 
vote showed such a difference of opinion that a committee was ap- 
pointed to confer with the Overseers on the advisability of postpon- 
ing the choice. But the committee reported against doing so, and 
the Trustees, by a vote of seven to three, elected one of their own 
number, Isaac Parker. Mr. Parker had taken much interest in col- 
lege affairs, particularly in the management of the college lands ; he 
had just been appointed a justice of the Massachusetts supreme 
court, and was later made chief justice; he was also Professor of 
Law at Harvard from 1816 to 1827. He was a man of "scholarly 
culture and taste," excellent judgment, and high character. But the 
Overseers rejected him, perhaps because they believed that the Presi- 
dent should be a clergyman. Next day the Trustees, by a vote of 
eight to one, elected Rev. Eliphalet Nott, who had recently begun his 
sixty-two year presidency of Union College. Dr. Nott was one of the 
greatest, and most original, of American college presidents ; but it is 
doubtful if he would have left his new position and, possibly for this 
reason, the Overseers refused to concur in his election. The Boards 
now adjourned) to the afternoon when another ballot was taken and 
Reverend Jesse Appleton, of Hampton, New Hampshire, was elected 
president. President Appleton, like his predecessor, was a native of 
New Hampshire and an alumnus of Dartmouth. He was born at 
New Ipswich, November 17, 1772, graduated from college in 1792, 
taught, studied theology, and preached for five years, and then be- 
came pastor of the Hampton church where he remained until called 
to Bowdoin. Mr. Appleton was not yet thirty-five years old, but he 
had already won a high reputation as a theologian, he had fitted 
many young men for the ministry, and he had been strongly sup- 
ported for the theological professorship at Harvard. "Though not 
a controversialist, President Appleton was a leader on the evangeli- 
cal side in the division that was then beginning to separate the 
Congregational churches of New England," 

Though President Appleton was not a graduate of Bowdoin, none 




President McKeex 
President Allen 



President Appleton 
President Woods 



PRESIDENTS MCKEEN AND APPLETON 37 

of her own sons served her with more unselfish devotion. For long 
periods the President was accustomed to sit up late at night and 
rise at four in the morning, preparing his work for the coming day. 
He even ate less, that he might need less exercise and so have more 
time for study. To the remonstrances of his friends he replied that 
duty to the college required the abstention. But its effect upon his 
health was so manifest and so serious that this form of self-sacrifice 
was abandoned. Even President Appleton would admit that the wel- 
fare of Bowdoin forbade, rather than demanded, that he commit 
suicide. Yet this truly noble man, "the saintly Appleton," as he has 
well been called, accomplished less, both as pastor and as President, 
than other men might have done who were of less lofty nature and of 
no greater ability. The cause may be found in two limitations of Dr. 
Appleton's somewhat complex character. First, to many persons, 
though not to all, he seemed to appeal to the brain rather than the 
heart. This was not due to coldness or to the pride of the scholar. 
In his diary there is an entry, "One week of tender lively and prayer- 
ful views of God, Christ and the Gospel is better than years of in- 
tellectual research that has no near connexion with Jesus and his 
religion. O God, make me spiritual." The prayer would seem to 
have been granted. The President's diary is full of true Christian 
love, and "It was once remarked by an individual of distinguished 
attainments as a Christian, that, 'it was worth a journey to Bruns- 
wick to attend Commencement, in order to hear President Appleton 
pray.' " But these spiritual outpourings were the less usual, or the 
private part of his life. Dr. Appleton's sermons were lucid and pow- 
erful arguments ; "logic, linked and strong," bound part to part in a 
harmonious whole, but his discourses had none of the inspiring vague- 
ness of the mystic. He seldom trusted himself to speak extemporane- 
ously; his sermons were carefully prepared beforehand; even his 
prayers are said to have been written out. 

A second defect in his character, though one that sprang from 
the highest motives, was that he was anxious over-much. Nehemiah 
Cleaveland, who knew President Appleton well, and greatly admired 
him, wrote many years after the President's death : "The intellectual 
progress and moral condition of the students were with him an ob- 



38 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

ject of intense and incessant solicitude. I thought then and still 
think, that his administration would have been more successful, and 
that he consequently would have been a happier man, could hopeful- 
ness and confidence have held the place in his mind which seemed so 
often occupied by mistrust and fear." 

President Appleton maintained that each student agreed to be- 
have himself and study, and that the college bound itself to make him 
do so, if he became neglectful, and that there was, therefore, a breach 
of contract if an offense was overlooked. Moreover, if penalties were 
regularly inflicted the student knew what he had to expect, if they 
were frequently remitted he might claim, if punished, that he did not 
know beforehand that he would suffer, and that the Faculty were 
guilty, practically, though not formally, of ex post facto legislation. 

As a teacher President Appleton was remarkably successful. "His 
voice was clear, deep toned and melodious." His expositions were 
concise, but clear and thorough. The subjects under his special 
charge were mental and moral philosophy, and rhetoric and oratory. 
In teaching the former his questions "were framed with much care and 
skill, so as to fix the attention more on the subject under discussion, 
than on the author. The students well knew, that ignorance or sloth 
could not escape the severe scrutiny they were obliged to undergo. 
Close attention and a vigorous exercise of their powers could alone 
stand the test, and the attentive pupil never left the recitation room 
without new topics of reflection, suggested both by the searching 
nature of the examination through which he had passed, and by the 
remarks of the President. The recitation in Butler's Analogy, in 
particular, can never be forgotten by the pupils of President Apple- 
ton. The most severe exercise in the whole range of the collegiate 
course, it was nevertheless always anticipated with deep interest, as 
one which would open new fields of thought, of great importance to 
the development of mental and moral character." The training in 
rhetoric and oratory consisted of participation in declamations and 
debates, and the writing of themes, "the work in all cases receiving 
the personal criticism of the President." That industrious officer, 
also, gave some instruction in Greek and Latin. For this he was 
well qualified, as he had kept up his classical studies, believing them 



PRESIDENTS MCKEEIST AND APPLETON 39 

valuable for the interpretation of Scripture, mental discipline, and 
the formation of a correct taste. Of Livy he was specially fond, and 
the students maintained that if he could save but three books from a 
burning library they would be the Bible, Paley's Evidences, and 
Livy. In his teaching of the classics, as of other subjects, the Presi- 
dent would tolerate no imperfect work. "The passage always under- 
went a thorough examination, and minute accuracy in the forms and 
syntax was required, as also in the prosody, a point then too com- 
monly neglected." 

During President Appleton's administration there was little change 
in the teaching force, except the coming and going of tutors, whose 
positions were not intended to be permanent. There was, however, 
one instance of the employment of a part-time professor, the Rev. 
Mr. Jenks of Bath. In 1807 Mr. Jenks had been elected an Overseer 
of the college, and in 1811 a Trustee. "Though neither profound nor 
brilliant, he was a man of extensive erudition and of much linguistic 
lore. All loved him for his amiability and respected him for his un- 
affected goodness." The college hoped to add him to its Faculty 
when its income would permit. But in 1812 Mr. Jenks received an ad- 
vantageous call to Portsmouth. Unwilling to lose him, Bowdoin pro- 
posed that he retain his present pastorate, accept the title of Pro- 
fessor of, the Oriental and English Languages, with a salary of but 
four hundred dollars a year, and do only limited work until the col- 
lege could make suitable compensation for his whole time. Mr. Jenks 
agreed, and for four years came to Bowdoin once a week to give les- 
sons in Hebrew, and to correct themes. Nehemiah Cleaveland says 
that the arrangement was, from its very nature, unsatisfactory to 
both parties. Perhaps Mr. Jenks thought regretfully of the pastor- 
ate which he had refused, and the college believed that it was getting 
little return, even for the small salary which it paid. In 1816 Mr. 
Jenks was appointed a permanent instructor, not professor, ac- 
cepted the position and then declined it and removed to Boston. He 
lived to an advanced age, preaching, writing learnedly and volumi- 
nously, and maintaining his interest in Bowdoin. 

Under President Appleton there were only slight modifications of 



40 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

the curriculum, the most important was the substitution of Livy for 
Sallust. 

Great care was taken that the undergraduates should pay suffi- 
cient attention to the work assigned them. Definite hours were fixed 
for study, and rules were laid down both to insure their use for that 
purpose and to prevent the well-intentioned students from being dis- 
turbed by those of less serious mood. The college laws of 1817 pro- 
vided that study hours 3 should be from 8.30 or 9 a.m., according to 
the season, until 12, and from 2 p.m. until evening, that is late after- 
noon, prayers. Moreover, the Faculty, in its discretion might set 
apart some portion of the winter evenings for study. The Boards 
also voted that "If any student shall, without leave or necessity, be 
absent from his chamber in the hours of study, or after nine o'clock 
in the evening [no sporting then], he shall be liable to a fine not ex- 
ceeding ten cents, and if by being often absent, by frequenting the 
chambers of his fellow students, and, in an idle and wanton manner, 
interrupting their studies, he shall render himself a burden and dis- 
honor to the Institution, he may be publicly or privately admonished, 
suspended, or rusticated, according to the degree or circumstances 
of the offense." Many undergraduates of a later date might have ap- 
preciated a revival of this rule. Some years ago a student posted on 
his door a notice to this effect : "Occasional visitors welcome, habitu- 
al loungers keep out. We mean business." Another rule would also 
have its uses now. The Boards provided that if any student should 
"by singing, playing any instrument, or by any noise or tumult, in 
study hours, disturb the studies of any person in the College," he 
should be liable to a fine of twenty cents or to more serious penalties. 

During President Appleton's administration the college received 
the first of its long list of bequests. In 1811 Mr. James Bowdoin 
died. By his will he left his library, pictures, and collection of 
minerals to the college, and made it heir to his real estate should his 
nephews die without issue. Massachusetts also showed a liberal 
spirit by making various grants of wild lands. Among them was the 
township subsequently incorporated as Etna, given in 1806. It was 
sold at once, apparently for $11,311.49, and the money was used to 

3 A portion of the recitations came in "study periods." 



PRESIDENTS MCKEEN AND APPLETON 41 

build the much desired, and much discussed, dormitory, later named 
Maine Hall. In 1814 the colleges of the state were given $16,000 a 
year for ten years, to be paid from the proceeds of the bank tax ; of 
this sum, Harvard received $10,000 and Bowdoin and Williams 
$3,000 each. 

In 1819 President Appleton died. He had come to Bowdoin when 
only thirty-five years of age, but his physique and manner of living 
were not such as to promise a long presidency. Nehemiah Cleaveland 
says : "In person Dr. Appleton was tall, slender, and narrow-chested. 
A close student, he rarely sought exercise or the outward air. With 
such a frame and such habits, it is not strange that disease fastened 
on his lungs, and that its course was sure and rapid." It was, per- 
haps, hastened by anxiety for the college, for its affairs were in an 
alarming condition. But as death approached the President's fears 
were changed to a confident trust, and, as he gazed at the college 
buildings through his chamber window, he said : "God has taken care 
of the college, and God will take care of the college." The words 
were remembered and in times of discouragement and difficulty be- 
came a rallying cry for the sons of Bowdoin. 

The Boards voted the same grants to President Appleton's family, 
and the same appropriation for a monument that they had given 
out of respect to the memory of President McKeen. 

The death of President Appleton came at a critical period in the 
history of Bowdoin, and, but for what may be termed a lucky acci- 
dent, its whole future would have been seriously affected. By the 
Bowdoin charter the legislature of Massachusetts could alter or 
annul any of the powers given to the college as might be judged 
necessary for its best interests. Maine was about to become a state, 
and its legislature would presumably succeed to the rights of that of 
the parent commonwealth. This would place the college in the hands 
of men who were hostile to it, at least as it was then administered. 
Bowdoin, like most of the colleges of the country, had been Federalist 
in tone and influence. The Democrats were in the majority in 
Maine and they believed that colleges, even if privately founded, 
were, in a measure, public institutions and should be subject to the 
control of the state and of the people. They had recently attempted 



42 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

to seize Dartmouth College, transform it into Dartmouth Univer- 
sity, and give it a new set of Trustees. After being almost success- 
ful, they failed, because the United States Supreme Court de- 
cided that a college charter was a contract and therefore unalterable 
by a state legislature. But Bowdoin might not be protected by 
this decision since the charter, itself, gave a right of modifica- 
tion to the legislature. What course should be taken? The Massa- 
chusetts legislature was Federalist, although not overwhelmingly 
or rabidly so, and the party had shown some willingness to erect 
fences against the Democratic wolves of Maine. But nothing had 
been done for Bowdoin except to provide that the new state should 
assume the grant of three thousand a year until 1824, which Massa- 
chusetts had made in 1814. Nathan Kinsman, a Federalist lawyer 
of Portland, went to Boston and conferred with Senator Lyman 
of Hampshire, an earnest Federalist. The bill for the separation of 
Maine had already been introduced, but Mr. Lyman promised to 
offer an amendment safeguarding Bowdoin. The Massachusetts 
Federalists, however, showed little interest, and a Democratic leader, 
William King, who, it was understood, would be the first governor of 
Maine, opposed the amendment. Help came from an unexpected 
quarter. Maine Democrats remonstrated with King, he moderated 
his opposition, and the amendment was passed. 4 It provided that no 
change should be made in the charter of the college, except with the 
assent of the Boards and of the legislatures of both Maine and 
Massachusetts. 

But King had by no means shot his last bolt, and he had a special 
reason for ill-feeling. His brother-in-law, B. J. Porter, had been 
treasurer of Bowdoin from 1805 to 1815, and King was one of his 
sureties. In 1815 Mr. Porter failed in business, disastrously. A 
Bowdoin Trustee, Benjamin Orr of Topsham, acting as agent and 
counsel for the Board, hurried to Bath and attached all King's 
property, even vessels which were about to sail were held in port. 
King quickly freed them by giving security to the college, but he 

4 There may, however, have been fear of trouble at home, for Treasurer McKeen 
advised that little be said about the amendment, that it be treated as a natural 
incident of separation. 



PRESIDENTS MCKEEN AND APPLETON 43 

felt that he had been grossly insulted, that Orr's procedure amounted 
to a public declaration that he could not be trusted to perform his 
engagements. Orr's first duty was to Bowdoin, and King's straight- 
forwardness was not beyond question. But King was easily moved 
to anger, Orr was a hard fighter and a violent Federalist, and King 
believed that he had acted from political motives, and also, though 
wrongly, that he had been advised to take the course he did by 
President Appleton and Professor Abbot. King, who was an unfor- 
giving man, determined on revenge. He was president of the con- 
vention which formed the state constitution and took a leading part 
in the framing of the article "On Literature." This required the 
support of public schools at town expense; and the encouragement 
of academies, colleges and other seminaries of learning by the legis- 
lature. The article, as originally reported, forbade that body to 
make any grant to a literary institution unless at the time of making 
it the Governor and Council had the power of revising and regulat- 
ing the action of the trustees, and of the government of the institu- 
tion, in the selection of its officers and the management of its funds. 
The convention believed that the state should exercise some control 
over the colleges within its borders, especially when their governing 
boards were self-perpetuating, and there was, therefore, danger of 
their falling into the hands of cliques 5 — family, political, or ecclesi- 
astical. But the convention was more moderate than King ; it trans- 
ferred the supervisory authority to the legislature, which would be 
less likely to exercise it than would the Governor and Council, and 
changed the right to interfere with the appointment of professors 
and with the management of funds to one to alter the powers given 
by the charter as might be for the best interests of the college. 

The constitution was adopted and Bowdoin was obliged to make a 
choice between independence and bread. Had President Appleton 
lived everything might have been risked in defense of freedom. A 
staunch Federalist, he would not have consented to put the college 
into the hands of the Democrats, and his opinion would have had 
great weight with the Boards. Moreover, his high reputation, with- 

5 Something of this nature had happened at Dartmouth and was one cause of 
the attack on the charter. 



44 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

out as well as within the state, might have been of avail in obtaining 
private assistance. But the college was headless ; the Methodists and 
Baptists looked on it somewhat coldly as a Congregationalist in- 
stitution ; and the people at large would regard Bowdoin with dis- 
favor, so long as it remained under the protection of a "foreign 
power" — Massachusetts. The Boards, therefore, were disposed to 
yield. Their first step was to elect as President, Reverend William 
Allen, 6 who had been President of the short-lived Dartmouth Univer- 
sity. The choice would be pleasing to the Maine Democrats, for the 
seizure of Dartmouth College had been a favorite measure with their 
New Hampshire brethren, and John Holmes, soon to be a Democratic 
senator from Maine, had been one of the counsel for the "Universi- 
ty" when the case of Dartmouth College vs. Woodward was argued 
before the Supreme Court at Washington. 

Although now out of office, President Allen had some hesitation 
about coming to Bowdoin. He wrote to Professor Cleaveland ask- 
ing "of what nature as to morals is the society of your village, & 
what are the establishments of schools for young children?" 6 * It is 
to be supposed that a satisfactory reply was given for Mr. Allen 
determined to accept the presidency. He was partly influenced by 
the circumstance that there was a good prospect of establishing a 
medical school in connection with Bowdoin. There was already one 
at Dartmouth, and Mr. Allen was much interested in the plan of 
joining one with the Maine college. In May, 1820, he arrived at 
Brunswick with Mrs. Allen. 

The lady was a daughter of President Wheelock of Dartmouth, 
but, unlike her father, and, indeed, her husband, was a person of 
much grace and charm. The newcomers made a good impression. 
Judah Dana, a prominent Democrat, who was desirous of the politi- 
cal conversion of Bowdoin, wrote to King : "It gives me great satis- 
faction to learn that President Allen is so well established at College 
and that a friendly intercourse subsists between his and the respec- 

6 Elijah Kellogg says that the Boards would have made Professor Cleaveland 
President of Bowdoin, but that he would not accept the position. 

6 * It is said that one reason for a member of the present Faculty accepting 
a call to Bowdoin was that his children would grow up not in a crowded city 
but in an open-air town. 



PRESIDENTS MCKEEN AND APPLETON 45 

table families in that section of the country." Perhaps the circum- 
stances that the Aliens came to Brunswick in their own two-horse 
carriage, "a style," says Professor Packard, in his reminiscences, 
"new to the college and town," that Mrs. Allen had considerable 
property of her own, and that she was descended from two West 
India governors, may have helped to soften the heart of Federalist 
respectability. 

Mr. Allen was duly inaugurated on May 15, 1820. In his address 
"he dwelt with emphasis upon the service which the college renders 
the state, and the essential unity of their interests." 

Meanwhile, the friends of state control were endeavoring to ob- 
tain the consent of the Boards to an alteration of the charter. Dana 
busied himself in this matter, pointing out to members of the Boards 
and others the advantage to the college of establishing a medical 
school, for which state aid was absolutely necessary. Mr. Allen, in 
spite of or, perhaps, because of, his former position as head of Dart- 
mouth University, at first was not wholly convinced of the advisabil- 
ity of Bowdoin placing itself in the hands of the legislature; but 
the medical school argument removed his last doubt and he warmly 
advocated the change. The Boards, however, were loath. "Shall 
the college surrender its independence for the sake of the pittance it 
may receive?" was the question as put by those distrustful of the 
future. "Shall the college fail to allow the Commonwealth to render 
it the assistance alike needed and deserved," asked President Allen. 
"The subject elicited an animated discussion. In the lower board, 
especially, the step, which, to some seemed little better than suicidal, 
was opposed with earnest and even pathetic eloquence." But the 
college finally determined to renounce its privileges, and votes were 
passed by the Boards, and the legislatures of Massachusetts and 
Maine, which were supposed, by all concerned, to give the Maine 
legislature power to modify the charter. The surrender had been 
made, would the legislature be content with a formal triumph? On 
December 29, 1820, Dana wrote to King that he agreed with a sug- 
gestion made by the latter that the legislature should take the lead 
in the way of reform, and expressed the opinion that the same legis- 
lature which made the donations should, also, remodel the charter, 



46 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

because, if there were too long a delay, it might be held that the 
legislature had waived its right 7 and that "the Boards as at present 
organized, might give us much trouble." Dana was anxious to avoid 
opposition if possible. He believed that the Faculty and a majority 
of the Boards and their friends would disapprove a simple alteration 
of the charter, but asked, "May they not however be pleased with 
the idea of extending their privileges, and by converting the College 
into a University? if so, we should have a good apology for making 
a new charter, as we make a new Institution, and this idea may 
be rendered agreeable, as other S(c)hools are rising up and assum- 
ing the name of Colleges ; this is a new thought growing out of the 
difficulty of arranging the Boards under the present charter, and 
to which I have not given much consideration." Dana said that 
he saw no objection to raising the number of Trustees to twenty,, 
and to giving the Overseers equal power with them. He also sug- 
gested that "if these alterations should not extend so far as to 
embrace the active influence of the State; might we not go still 
farther in extending the number of members? I formerly was 
of the opinion that the State Executive might, ex officio, compose a 
part of the largest Board — but considering the tenure of their of- 
fices I apprehend there might not be sufficient stability to give efficacy 
to the measures of such an institution." 8 

The Legislature proceeded conservatively, making no change in 
the powers of the Boards but merely raising the number of the 
Trustees to twenty-five and that of the Overseers to sixty, and giv- 
ing the Governor and Council the power to appoint the new members 
in the first instance. Governor King found few or none but Demo- 
crats worthy of his favor, but though chosen for partisan reasons 
his appointees were men of character and ability and suited for their 
position. In 1826 the Legislature made the Governor for the time 
being a member of the Board of Trustees. 

7 Judge Story subsequently expressed a doubt whether the power of alteration 
was a continuing one. 

8 In Massachusetts not only the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, but first 
the "magistrates," then the Councillors, and then the Senators, had been ex officio 
members of the Board of Overseers at Harvard; and probably Mr. Dana had 
some such provision in mind when he spoke of the "active influence" of the state. 



CHAPTER III 

THE ADMINISTRATION OF PRESIDENT ALLEN 



PRESIDENT ALLEN had been elected by the Boards on the first 
ballot and unanimously. The political reasons for the choice have 
been noted above. He also had the advantage of being recommended 
by Professor Cleaveland, who had known him at Harvard, having been 
a Senior when Allen was a Freshman. After graduation Mr. Allen 
studied theology for two years, served as proctor at Harvard for 
six, and then succeeded his father as pastor of the church at Pitts- 
field, Massachusetts. He remained there until called to "Dartmouth 
University" in 1816, and after Chief Justice Marshall had annihi- 
lated the "University," or rather decided that it had never existed, 
came to Bowdoin. During his proctorship at Harvard Mr. Allen 
had prepared an American Biographical and Historical Dictionary 
which was considered the best book of the kind yet produced. While 
at Brunswick he revised and enlarged the work ; and even now, after 
so many encyclopaedias have been published, it is not wholly out of 
use. Therefore, when Mr. Allen came to Bowdoin he had had con- 
siderable experience in enforcing college discipline, and he was 
possessed of a large amount of what the worthy Dominie Samson 
valued so highly, and described as "e-ru-di-ti-on." But there were 
weaknesses in President Allen's character, which, to a great degree, 
neutralized excellent qualities which he possessed and made his elec- 
tion unfortunate both for himself and the college. In 1873 Daniel 
Raynes Goodwin of the class of 1832 described the Faculty of his 
day. Of the President, he said : "There was the impassive, inflexible 
Allen, precise, stately, stiff; but just and kind and faithful; antiqua 
homo virtute et fide; more learned than apt to teach; a good ruler 
for all but the unruly. . . . He never courted popularity, and so, 



48 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

perhaps, he never deserved it. With a warm and generous heart 
beating unseen and unsuspected beneath the cold exterior, living in 
all good conscience before God every day, he met abuse and obloquy 
with the invincible bravery of Christian meekness." "More learned 
than apt to teach," "a good ruler for all but the unruly." Such a 
man may make a good research professor in a university, he should 
not be the president of a small college. It is true, however, that Pres- 
ident Allen was, at times, unjustly condemned. As a matter of prin- 
ciple he repressed all show of feeling. He also believed that the Fac- 
ulty should appear to be a unit. It fell to him, as President, to in- 
flict punishment, and he seemed to the undergraduates harsh and 
unwilling to make allowance for youth when he, himself, had favored 
milder measures and had been outvoted by his colleagues. In after 
years some of the quiet and able students, like Cyrus Hamlin, Presi- 
dent of Robert College, and Ephraim Peabody, Minister at King's 
Chapel, Boston, spoke gratefully of help which they had received 
from him. Dr. Peabody said: "President Allen was not popular, 
but personally I remember him with respect for his unvarying kind- 
ness. I think his superficial manners prevented some of the best 
traits of his character from becoming known." A man, however, is 
responsible for his demeanor, and President Allen's old-fashioned 
notions of the reserve befitting a college president and of the out- 
ward respect due him, helped to alienate well-intentioned students. 
He was so disliked by the class of 1825 that half of them did not at- 
tend the reception which he gave them on their graduation. Nor was 
it the students only whom President Allen offended. He was natural- 
ly deficient in tact and in ability to make concessions, even when they 
were wise and just ; and he incurred the ill-will of many of the Trus- 
tees and Overseers. Moreover, one cannot help doubting the cor- 
rectness of Dr. Peabody's statement that President Allen bore abuse 
with Christian meekness ; certainly he at times showed himself re- 
markably deficient in this respect. He was also lacking in some of 
the virtues of the pagan. It would seem as if, scholar though he was, 
he had never heard of the old Greek maxim, "Know thyself." 

In discussing the qualifications of Professor Hadlock of Dart- 
mouth, who had been mentioned as a successor to President Allen, 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 49 

A. P. Peabody said that unlike the latter, Professor Hadlock never 
attempted what was beyond his powers. But President Allen seems 
to have taken all literature for his province. He wrote hymns which 
excited the ridicule rather than the reverence of the students ; a 
poem, "Wunnissoo ; or, the Vale of the Hoosatunnuk," "with valu- 
able and learned notes ;" "An Account of Remarkable Shipwrecks ;" 
and he has been credited with the authorship of an anonymous work, 
"Junius Unmasked," which attempted to prove that "Junius" was 
Lord George Sackville. 

But if President Allen had serious defects himself he was sur- 
rounded by a small but able Faculty, five of whom served Bowdoin 
with honor to themselves and the college for an average of over 
forty-five years. Of Professor Cleaveland mention has already been 
made. The next to join the band was Samuel Philipps Newman. 
Mr. Newman was born on June 6, 1797, at Andover, Massachusetts. 
He graduated from Harvard in 1816; was instructor in a private 
family in Kentucky ; came to Bowdoin as a tutor, and studied theol- 
ogy under President Appleton; and, in 1819, was elected Professor 
of Greek and Latin. In 1824 he was transferred to the new chair of 
Rhetoric and Oratory and was permitted to give occasional lectures 
in civil polity and political economy. In teaching these subjects, so 
cautiously introduced, Professor Newman proved remarkably suc- 
cessful. "He was a systematic reader and thinker. His knowledge 
was various and solid, and what he knew he could convey easily and 
clearly ... As a critic, he was discriminating and candid; as a 
writer, simple, perspicuous, pure. His delivery, though not remark- 
able for energy or grace, was yet impressive." Like others of his 
colleagues Mr. Newman brought reputation to Bowdoin by his writ- 
ings. Shortly after his election as Professor of Rhetoric he pub- 
lished a work on that subject which passed through sixty large edi- 
tions, became a textbook in some colleges and many schools and was 
republished in England. He, also, prepared an elementary textbook 
on political economy which Professor Amas a Walker of Harvard 
pronounced the best work of its kind in the United States. Professor 
Newman was a good business man and an excellent judge of charac- 
ter ; and he was fond of exercising these powers. Nehemiah Cleave- 



50 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

land says that during his whole professorship he was probably the 
most influential member of the Faculty. "After twenty-one years of 
faithful service at Brunswick, he yielded, to an application from the 
Massachusetts Board of Education, and assumed the charge of a 
normal school, then just established at Barre. Upon this work he 
entered, with his wonted zeal and fidelity. But his health, which had 
long been declining, soon broke down under the pressure of new re- 
sponsibilities and labors, and perhaps, also, through the loss of oc- 
cupations and enjoyments to which he had long been accustomed. 
He returned to his birthplace, where he died early in 1842." 

Professor Newman's personal character was of the highest. Mr. 
Cleaveland says : "All who knew him still love to remember how true 
and tender he was in the domestic relation, how warm-hearted in his 
friendships, how amiable and engaging in social life, how full of 
sympathy for every form of suffering." 

Professor Newman was succeeded in the chair of ancient lan- 
guages by Alpheus Spring Packard. Mr. Packard was a member of 
the Bowdoin Faculty for sixty-five years, probably the longest period 
of such service at one college in the history of American education. 
Dr. Nott's presidency of Union, famous for its length as well as its 
achievements, was three years shorter. England, however, can show 
a more remarkable record than that of Professor Packard. Dr. 
Routh was Librarian of Magdalen College, Oxford, for ten years, 
and then President for sixty-three years, dying in his hundreth 
year. 

Professor Packard was a son of Reverend Hezekiah Packard, D.D., 
and was born at Chelmsford, Massachusetts, on December 23, 1798. 
In 1802 his father accepted a call to Wiscasset, where he served as 
pastor until 1830. During all of this time he was a member of the 
Bowdoin Governing Boards, and he felt for the college an interest 
and affection second only to that with which he regarded his own 
alma mater, Harvard. He sent his six sons to Bowdoin, five grad- 
uated, the other died in his Junior year. Dr. Packard had been 
known in Harvard both for his physical and his mental vigor, and he 
trained his sons to work continually. When Alpheus was only ten 
years old his father wrote that the child was so interested in his 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 51 

Greek and Latin, and that he, himself, found so many little services 
for the boy to perform, that he did not play over half an hour a 
week, and that he seldom asked for any indulgence. Mrs. Packard 
was not a, scholar like her husband, the days of college women were 
not yet come, but it is said that she used to put a copy of Pope's 
Odyssey at the end of her wool-carding machine and read a line 
when she reached the book as she paced back and forth winding the 
wool. 

In such a home young Packard matured quickly. He graduated 
from Bowdoin before he was nineteen, taught for three years, then 
returned to the college as a tutor, and remained there, her devoted 
son and servant, 1 until his death in 1884. But his love for Bowdoin 
did not prevent his- making the same high demands on her that he 
did on himself and others. President Chamberlain said in a discourse 
at Professor Packard's funeral: "He was not of sanguine tempera- 
ment. I used to sometimes think that he erred in under-estimating 
or understating his case when it concerned himself or the excellences 
of the college, and have even hinted to him of the frequent strain in 
his remarks or prayers, which seemed almost to depreciate our 
means of usefulness. But things achieved seemed to him always little 
— the present a narrow place his eyes were ever looking forward for 
ampler instrumentalities and larger labors." In early life high aims 
often lead to severe judgment of individuals. Professor Packard's 
pupil, colleague and next-door neighbor, Professor Egbert C. Smyth, 
said of him : "His father was a strict disciplinarian. All his- own in- 
stincts and habits were on the side of law and authority. His ethical 
maxims were so pure, and the course of his life had brought him so 
little into contact with men of diverse standards of life and moral 
habits, that his judgment of wrong-doers was naturally severe. The 
experience of years expanded his nature. Mitis est maturus. 

"He had great loyalty to men and institutions, not apt to be fore- 
most in aggressive work, he could be as true as steel. His most con- 
spicuous moral trait was utter fidelity. With this was inevitably 

1 General Chamberlain said: "The college was his absorbing thought — I shall 
be pardoned if I say, his absorbing earthly love . . . He could not see how any- 
body could allow anything to stand before the college in estimation; not the 
highest prizes of life, nor the dearest joys." 



52 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

connected constant growth in excellence and power. Aspiring to no 
leadership he won a mastery rarely equalled, perhaps never sur- 
passed, in academic circles. He loved the college with a lifelong 
devotion and the college rose up to do him reverence. His life was a 
whole-hearted consecration to unselfish and noble ends, and the law 
of the universe, more enduring, mightier than any of the natural 
creation, the law that he who serves shall reign bore him to his 
throne." 

Students as well as Faculty joined cordially in this homage. 
This was partly due to the fact that "Dr. Packard possessed in a 
marked degree those qualities which inspire affection in youth. No 
request of his was unheeded, a single hint as to his desires was more 
potent than a sounding mandate from any other quarter." In his 
intercourse with the students he did not clothe himself with the re- 
serve which his years and position would have excused. He was the 
personification of kindly sympathy. In 1924 an alumnus of the 
class of 1888 told the writer that, as a Freshman, he used to see 
Professor Packard walking from his house, now Professor Mitchell's, 
to the chapel building, and that his presence was like a benediction. 

The close of Professor Packard's life was most appropriate. For 
the year succeeding the resignation of President Chamberlain he 
held the title of Acting President, though most of the executive work 
was done by the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Chapman. But at 
the Commencement of 1884 Professor Packard delivered, in a clear 
voice, a brief but beautiful and affecting baccalaureate, and on the 
following Sunday attended church and joined heartily in the singing 
of one of his favorite hymns. 

The next Sabbath found him at Squirrel Island where after at- 
tending a service conducted by his colleague, Professor Brown, he 
went for a view of the ocean, was seized with heart trouble and died 
within an hour. The suddenness of his passing was a great shock to 
the citizens of Brunswick and to Bowdoin men. But there was noth- 
ing of that incompleteness which sometimes doubles the bitterness of 
death. As was well said by General Chamberlain at the funeral, 
"there are no broken columns. One sphere of life fulfilled, God took 
him higher. Walking by the shore of the sea, he walked on." 



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PRESIDENT ALLEN 53 

In person Professor Packard was most impressive. He had none 
of the carelessness of dress and appearance sometimes noted in the 
scholar. General Howard says of him : "Prof. A. S. Packard differed 
from the other. He had a fine figure, was very handsome, and wore 
a pair of gold bowed spectacles ; his hair and clothing were in per- 
fect condition. He was quick to see a student's fault and sometimes 
corrected it with severity, sometimes wittily, but he conveyed the 
impression of the highest order of gentility. He was, in fact, the 
students beau ideal of a Christian gentleman." 

The next member of the great five to join the Faculty was William 
Smyth. He was born February 1, 1797, at Pittston, Maine. His 
father soon removed to Wiscasset where he worked as a ship car- 
penter. During the War of 1812 it was almost impossible to obtain 
employment. In order to render what help he could, William Smyth 
entered the army and gave his bounty to his mother. Fortune pro- 
tected him from danger. He was made quartermaster-sergeant in 
Colonel McCobb's regiment, which was stationed near the mouth of 
the Kennebec. There were alarms, but no fighting ; and neither dur- 
ing his military service, nor at any future time, did our young hero 
fire a gun. But if he had no opportunity of displaying military val- 
or, Mr. Smyth was to prove in after life that he had an abundance 
of civil courage and energy. The death of his father in 1815 
left him with a brother and a sister to support. He obtained the 
means to do this by opening and teaching a private school, and at 
the same time prepared himself for college, studying for this purpose 
late into the night, often merely by the light of the fire. In 1817 he 
became an assistant at Gorham Academy, then taught by an ec- 
centric but very able teacher, Reverend Reuben Nasson. Smyth 
aided Mr. Nasson in his work and at the same time received the 
benefit of his instruction. In 1820 Smyth entered Bowdoin as a 
Junior. There he pursued his course under the greatest difficulties. 
The firelight studies had injured his sight, and during his two years 
at college his lessons were read to him by his roommate, Smyth oc- 
casionally raising the green shade which he wore over his eyes to 
take a look at a Greek or Latin phrase, or a mathematical figure. 



54 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

It is no wonder that under these circumstances he developed "a re- 
markable poAver of concentration." 

He still retained a high sense of duty to his family. Professor 
Packard says in a memorial address on Professor Smyth, that after 
getting settled in college this independent, self-denying spirit led him 
to bring to his side his younger brother and to "sustain both as he 
might. This self-sacrificing college student often deprived himself 
of a dinner for the sake of that brother ; lived day after day on 
bread and water; not infrequently did not know one day where the 
next dajr's meals were to come from, and thus, studying with the 
eyes of another, often at his wit's end for support, with that care 
of the brother upon him part of the time, he soon took the lead of an 
able class and held it to the end, graduating with the English vale- 
dictory in 1822." Smyth spent a year in theological study at 
Andover and was then called, to Bowdoin as a tutor in Greek. Pro- 
fessor Cleaveland bore the title of Professor of Mathematics but he 
was absorbed in his scientific work, and it was the custom to as- 
sign the instruction in mathematics, then of a somewhat elemen- 
tary character, to tutors. Accordingly the subject was soon given 
to the new instructor, although his forte before he came to Bowdoin 
had been Greek. Mr. Nasson used to call him his Greek giant. 
Regret has been expressed that so active and imaginative a man as 
Professor Smyth devoted his life to so humdrum a subject as mathe- 
matics. But to Professor Smyth it was far from humdrum. Gen- 
eral Mattocks has recalled how, during a recitation, he would, in his 
earnestness and enthusiasm, cover himself with chalk from his chin 
down. The new tutor began his mathematical work at Bowdoin by a 
change of method, which proved of great benefit both to his classes 
and to himself. Professor Little thus describes the system which was 
in use on Smyth's arrival: "In geometry each student had a blank 
book in which he drew the figures and which he used in demonstrat- 
ing. In algebra, problems were worked out on a slate and the result 
explained at the teacher's side. In a crowded recitation room it 
sometimes happened that correct answers followed incorrect process- 
es. 'How did you get that result?' a tutor once asked a Bowdoin 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 55 

Sophomore, who afterwards became president of the United States. 
'From Stowe's slate,' was the frank reply." 

Tutor Smyth introduced the use of the blackboard. Professor 
Packard says of the result: "When he (Smyth) had tested the ex- 
periment in the Sophomore algebra, and with great success, a con- 
siderable portion of the Juniors requested the privilege of reviewing 
the algebra under the new method at an extra hour — a wonder in 
college experience ; and that blackboard experiment, I am sure, led 
to his appointment as assistant professor of mathematics a year 
after. Of this also I am sure, that he had then first detected a mathe- 
matical element in his mental equipment." Professor Little says : 
"With characteristic zeal and earnestness Professor Smyth gave him- 
self to an extended study of the French system of mathematics. 
His active mind and unusual powers of concentration enabled him 
to read Laplace's Mecanique Celeste at the close of days of vexatious 
drudgery. His manuscripts with their carefully elaborated formu- 
lae show that he not only read but mastered." One evening there 
was an outbreak of disorder among the students which was only 
quelled by the Faculty after hard and long continued effort. Then 
the wearied professors sought their beds, all except Professor Smyth, 
who, as he told Professor Packard the next morning, composed his 
nerves and assured good sleep by taking a turn at the Mecanique 
Celeste. 

As a teacher Professor Smyth was "precise, simple and clear" ; 
and he had a wonderful power of inspiring interest in his subject ; 
but it is said that in the latter part of his life he "accommodated" 
himself with less facility, to less quick or less diligent pupils. This 
lack of sympathy in a man fundamentally of so kind and generous a 
nature as Professor Smyth was largely due to the fact that, to his 
powerful intellect, the inevitable errors of lesser men seemed the re- 
sult of laziness or stupidity. 

Professor Smyth's enjoyment of abstruse mathematics did not 
prevent his taking a particular and practical interest in work of a 
much simpler character. He wrote various elementary textbooks on 
mathematics, for use in schools and colleges, which went through 
many editions. His algebra was used at Harvard, and was highly 



56 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

praised b3' Dr. Bowditch ; his last work, Elements of the Differential 
and Integral Calculus, "evinced no little originality. It received 
emphatic approval in high quarters, notably from Prof. Bache," 
the head of the United States Coast Survey, and one of the foremost 
American scientists of his time. 

Professor Smyth was greatly interested in public education. He 
induced Brunswick to establish a system of graded schools, and he 
appeared before legislative committees year after year to advocate 
the passage of laws encouraging other towns to take similar action. 
This brought on him the charge of neglecting his professorial duties, 
and, in his annual report of 1853, he replied to the accusation by 
setting forth a view of the relation of the college to the schools 
which is of especial interest today when there is much discussion of 
the question, shall Bowdoin aim to be a distinctively Maine institu- 
tion, or shall it set standards with slight regard to the ability of the 
state schools to meet them, and, while remaining a small college of 
the New England type, yet, in the quality of the instruction, and the 
requirements for admission and graduation, disregard geographical 
lines, and emulate the inspiring freedom of the true university? 
Professor Smyth pointed out that his textbooks were useful in col- 
lege, and that even those intended for schools enabled the pupils to 
obtain a better preparation for college and so to accomplish more 
while there. He also said : "I have felt it of great importance to the 
College that its interests should be identified with those of the Com- 
mon Schools of the State. For them it furnishes the teachers, and 
from them it must receive its supply of students. I have therefore 
heartily cooperated in efforts for their improvement, especially the 
introduction of the graded system of schools. I have labored with 
my fellow-citizens of this place in the introduction of the system here, 
that our students may have before them model schools to aid them 
in their preparation to be teachers. I hope to see also connected 
with the college some special means for the better education of teach- 
ers. I thus hope to see the college placed in public estimation at the 
head of the common schools of the State, extending to them its aid 
and support, supplying them with qualified teachers, and receiving 
in return the well-instructed pupils to become its own joy and crown. 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 57 

I trust that the labors I have been or may be able to perform in this 
direction, will not be regarded as inappropriate to my position or 
as a departure from my first duty — the direct effort for the im- 
provement of the college students in so much of the college course as 
is committed to my care." 

It was a strong defense, perhaps a sufficient one in the particular 
matter under discussion; but there is reason to believe that Pro- 
fessor Smyth's work as a teacher suffered from his outside interests. 
Professor Packard says that the students could tell from his manner 
of conducting a recitation if some public question was occupying his 
thoughts. Nor was this strange. Like President Wilson, Professor 
Smyth had a "single track mind." "I wish I was not so much a man 
of one idea," he often exclaimed when he came back from the village 
street without doing his errand, or left the day's mail where he hap- 
pened to have called on his way. But if Professor Smyth often had 
but one idea at a time he was not a man of one idea, in the sense of 
having but a single interest. He was a devoted member of the 
Brunswick Congregationalist Church, was a teacher in its Sunday 
School and one of its assessors ; when the church was rebuilt he 
served as tender to a mason to save expense, and he left his bed at 
midnight to come down in a pouring rain to close a window which had 
been left open. More consonant with his ordinary duties was the 
drawing of working plans for a spire. Professor Smyth was also an 
ardent reformer. He was a vigorous supporter of the temperance 
and anti-slavery movements, and his home was a station on the 
"underground railroad" for forwarding escaping slaves to Canada. 2 

The death of Professor Smyth, like that of his colleagues, Pro- 
fessors Cleaveland and Packard, and that of a later professor, Dr. 
Whittier, was extremely sudden. The closing years of his life had 
been chiefly devoted to the obtaining of a suitable and practicable 
design for a hall as a memorial to the soldiers of the Civil War, and 
the raising of funds for its erection. On the morning of April 4, 
1868, Professor Smyth was watching the laying of the foundation 

2 For a college legend concerning an attempt to displace him because of his 
radicalism on the slavery question, see <: An Inquisition of 1835," by James 
Plaisted Webber, in Minot and Snow's Tales of Bowdoin, pages 275-278. 



58 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

when he was seized with an attack of angina pectoris, and died soon 
after reaching home. 

The last of the "Old Guard" of Bowdoin professors to join the 
Faculty was Thomas Cogswell Upham. Mr. Upham was born at 
Deerfield, New Hampshire, on January 20, 1799. He graduated 
from Dartmouth in 1818, and from Andover Theological Seminary 
in 1821. He remained there two years as assistant in Hebrew to 
Professor Moses Stuart ; he served one year as associate pastor in 
Rochester, New Hampshire; and in 1824 he was elected Professor of 
Mental and Moral Philosophy at Bowdoin. The choice of so young a 
man for so important a position was due to both scholastic and po- 
litical reasons. President Allen wrote to ex-Governor King : "I think 
it would contribute much to the reputation and usefulness of our 
college, and draw students from New Hampshire, if Rev. Mr. Upham 
of Rochester, a young man of fine talents and learning, could be 
chosen to an office here. He is son of a member of Congress, of Re- 
publican views and would therefore be thus far acceptable to Maine." 
The talents and learning referred to by President Allen had been 
chiefly shown by a scholarly translation, with notes, of an Abridge- 
ment of Jahn's Archaeology. But probably the chief cause of Mr. 
Upham's election was the fact that he was recommended by Profes- 
sor Stuart as well fitted to refute the doctrines of Kant. Until about 
the second decade of the century the "Scottish Philosophy" of Reid, 
Dugald Stewart, and Locke had reigned almost undisturbed in 
American colleges, but by 1820 the teachings of Coleridge, Cousin, 
and Kant had crossed the ocean and were winning many disciples. 
To thinkers of the conservative type, and to church people, in gen- 
eral, these doctrines, particularly those of Kant, seemed to lead to 
infidelity ; and the Critique of Pure Reason had taken the place of 
bugbear formerly held by "Tom" Paine's Age of Reason. Mr. Up- 
ham accepted his appointment at Bowdoin as a summons to defend 
the cause of orthodoxy. He went sincerely and earnestly to work, 
but after long effort found himself unable to produce a satisfactory 
refutation of German metaphysics. Feeling that he had failed in the 
duty which he had been chosen to perform, he was about to resign 
when he conceived a distinction between the intellect, the sensibilities, 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 59 

and the will, which he believed to be of great importance, and which 
he embodied in a "Treatise on the Will," his most original work. 

Professor Upham wrote easily, and, when he died, he had some 
twenty books to his credit. Professor Little says that, though he was 
an able and faithful instructor, he "undoubtedly contributed more to 
the reputation and influence of the college by his writings than by 
his recitations." 

His "Elements of Mental Philosophy," and an "Abridgment" of 
the work, were frequently used as textbooks, and a former pupil, 
President Cyrus Hamlin, of Robert College, Constantinople, trans- 
lated the "Abridgment" into Armenian for the use of his students. 
Professor Upham wrote lives of Madam Guyon, and of Fenelon, and 
several books dealing with Christian experience. His essay on a 
Congress of Nations and his "Manual of Peace" were circulated as 
tracts by the American Peace Society. Professor Upham also pub- 
lished a volume of poems, "American Cottage Life," and, "Letters : 
Aesthetic, Social, and Moral ; written from Europe, Egypt, and 
Palestine." 

The Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy was not only a 
learned and influential divine, but a most useful servant of Bowdoin 
in practical affairs. He was the chief agent in obtaining a fund of 
seventy thousand dollars for the college, the gift, not of one man, as 
it might be today, but of many persons, some of quite moderate 
means. Professor Upham's benevolent work was by no means con- 
fined to the college. Professor Packard says : 

"The oppressed and downtrodden found in him a sympathizing 
and active friend. He was an early and liberal patron of coloniza- 
tion [of American slaves in Africa], constituting himself a life mem- 
ber of the society by a contribution of one thousand dollars. His 
name stands on the first roll of signers to the temperance pledge in 
Brunswick, drawn up immediately after the visit of the eminent Dr. 
Edwards. He watched with eager eye every movement for the ends 
of civil and religious liberty in Europe or on this continent. He 
labored early in the cause of Peace, and yet when the cloud of civil 
war hung over our land, his heart was stirred within him for the 
salvation and integrity of his bleeding country. To crown all, he 



60 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

was instant in season and out of season, in college, in the street, and 
from house to house, in the cause of his Master. Not a man among 
us was more sensitive to anything which promised good or threatened 
evil to the interests of morals or of vital godliness." 

Professor and Mrs. Upham were very fond of children, and, hav- 
ing none themselves, adopted several, treating them with the same 
affection that they would have bestowed upon their own. Mrs. 
Stowe, who was taken in by the Uphams on her arrival in Bruns- 
wick, wrote : "This family is delightful ; there is such a perfect still- 
ness and quietude in all its movements. Not a harsh word or hasty 
expression is ever heard. It is a beautiful pattern of a Christian 
family. A beautiful exemplification of religion." 

Professor Upham treated the students with kindness and affection, 
yet showed the same skill which enabled him to get large sums of 
money for the college. General Howard says in his autobiography : 
"Prof. Thomas C. Upham, a tall man of sixty with head modestly 
drooping, sat at his desk and reasoned in such a fatherly way that 
even a boy's wrongdoing seemed to be a source of drawing him nearer 
to a fatherly heart, though the professor had, without any severity 
of manner or method, a way of getting from a youth anything which 
he wanted to know. In spite of his modesty and retiring disposition, 
scarcely able to give an address on his feet, Professor Upham was a 
natural and polished diplomat." 

It was the fault of the diplomat, lack of straightforwardness, 
that was most frequently attributed to Professor Upham. A former 
pupil and devoted admirer of the professor said of this weakness : 
"His excessive nervous timidity to my mind accounted for traits of 
character that awakened unfavorable comment. He trembled at, and 
shrank from public speech. He hesitated at a bold assertion, how- 
ever true. He loved the most retired, not to say secret, ways of 
investigation for either practical or philosophical purposes, more 
because his nerves were weak, than because his convictions were feeble 
or his moral courage faint." 

The earlier part of President Allen's administration was not only 
marked by the appointment to professorships of some of the strong- 
est men who were ever members of the Bowdoin Faculty, but by a 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 61 

slow and cautious beginning of the elective system. At Bowdoin, as 
at Harvard, the first successful attack on what Professor Foster has 
called "those tyrants of old, Latin, Greek, and Mathematics," was 
made by the modern languages. The first step was for the college to 
facilitate instruction in them by a person not on its staff. In 1820 
there was residing in Brunswick a Frenchman who gave lessons in his 
native language, and who, perhaps, found difficulty in collecting his 
honorarium. In September, 1820, the Boards voted that the Treas- 
urer should pay the fees of such students as might attend this course 
and add five dollars to their next quarter bills. At the Commence- 
ment of 1825 much more important action was taken. Mrs. Henry 
Dearborn, formerly Mrs. James Bowdoin, Jr., had bequeathed to the 
college a fund of one thousand dollars to found a professorship of 
the French language. The sum was, of course, totally insufficient to 
meet the expenses of a new chair, but the Boards decided to wait no 
longer and voted that "a professorship be established for the instruc- 
tion of the Junior and Senior classes in the modern languages of Eu- 
rope, particularly the French and Spanish, and that until a professor 
be elected the Executive Government be authorized and directed to 
make the best provision in their power to accomplish the object of 
this vote at an expense to the college not exceeding the sum of $500 
per annum." No professor was chosen but there was an understand- 
ing that a member of the graduating class, Henry W. Longfellow, 
should ultimately receive the position, but that he should first study 
in Europe. It may seem strange that Spanish was ranked above Ger- 
man, but the Germanization of American education had scarcely 
begun, and we had much trade with Spanish America. Longfellow's 
father wrote him, the next year, that Spanish was as important as 
French and that if he failed to master it he would lose the appoint- 
ment. 

For two years instruction in French was given by Joseph H. 
Abbot of the class of 1822; then, for two years, there was no teach- 
ing of modern languages. In 1829 Mr. Longfellow returned from 
Europe and assumed his duties, which were performed with much 
success until 1835 when he rather suddenly resigned to accept a call 
to Harvard. 



62 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

He was succeeded by Daniel Raynes Goodwin, a native of Maine, 
and a graduate of Bowdoin of the class of 1832. He had just been 
called to Bowdoin as a tutor, and, though excellent in the classics 
and mathematics, had given no special attention to the modern 
languages. But an instructor in that subject was imperatively re- 
quired, and Mr. Goodwin was thrust into the gap. At the end of the 
year the Visiting Committee reported that he had proved himself 
thoroughly competent ; nevertheless, they deemed it advisable for him 
to take a two years leave of absence for study abroad. During this 
time modern languages were taught by Samuel Adams of the class 
of 1831, then a student in the Medical School, afterwards president 
of Illinois College, which his broad knowledge and extraordinary 
courage and perseverance saved from a slow and inglorious death. 

In 1837 Mr. Goodwin returned and entered on his professorship. 
He proved himself excellently fitted for the place. "To a critical knowl- 
edge of the most cultivated of the European languages [French], he 
added extensive study of general and comparative philology. As a 
teacher and governor he was assiduous, fearless, 3 and most efficient, 
inculcating by example as well as precept a liberal culture. Pos- 
sessing a mind singularly acute and clear and comprehensive, with 
great acumen and power of analysis, it is not strange that meta- 
physical and moral science . . . largely attracted his regards." In 
1853 he left Bowdoin to become, successively, President of Trinity 
College, Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, and Professor in 
the Protestant Episcopal Divinity School at Philadelphia. But 
wherever he went he maintained a generous affection for his own 
college. In 1873 he delivered an able and eloquent address before 
the alumni in which he gave interesting recollections of the Bowdoin 
of his day. On the fiftieth anniversary of his graduation he pre- 
sented the college with a fund of a thousand dollars, the income to 
be used as a prize for the best Commencement part. By his will he 
left Bowdoin a fund of five hundred dollars, the income to serve as a 
prize for excellence in French. In return, however, the college was to 

3 Professor Goodwin, however, sometimes forgot to mingle discretion with his 
valor. General Howard says that "He was quick-tempered and at times irascible, 
and resented any attempted humor on the part of a pupil." 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 63 

assume the care of the graves of two young children of Professor 
Goodwin, who were buriedjin the college lot in the Brunswick cemetery. 
The gift with the accompanying obligation was accepted but ap- 
parently more from respect for Professor Goodwin than from a 
desire for the small prize. 

The chief improvement in the curriculum at Bowdoin during the 
twenties and thirties was the introduction of the study of the mod- 
ern languages. Other changes were proposed but not adopted. In 
1827 the Visiting Committee submitted certain questions for the con- 
sideration of the Boards. One of them must have seemed positively 
revolutionary. It was, "Whether the courses of instruction ought 
not to be more of a practical and less of a scholastic character, and 
to this end whether the study of the Greek language in this college 
ought not to be optional with the student." In 1829 the Committee 
again called the attention of the Boards to the subject, but, perhaps 
because it was itself divided, spoke uncertainly as to the merits of the 
question, and endorsed a proposal of the Faculty that it hold a 
conference with a committee of the Boards which should report the 
ensuing year. Such a committee was appointed, and a similar one 
some years later, but neither made a report. 

By 1841 the conservatives had obtained control of the Visiting 
Committee, for it so far abandoned its former position as to state 
that the experiment of giving to other studies part of the time here- 
tofore allotted to the classics was being tried at various institutions 
and that Bowdoin should await the result, "and thereby gain the 
benefit of the trial without risking anything ourselves by a hasty 
innovation." 

It was not regarded, however, as a hasty innovation to make 
some changes for the benefit of undergraduates who intended to 
enter the ministry. In 1821 the Juniors were required to study the 
Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation in Griesbach's Greek Testament, 
and this was made a part of "their theological collegiate course." 
An examination in the book was to be given at admission, but appli- 
cants not prepared to take it might substitute Xenophon's Cyro- 
paedia, "at the election of the persons offering such candidates for 
admission." As Professor Foster points out, this, the first clear case 



64 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

of election at Bowdoin, was in the entrance requirements ; and the 
choice was not to be made by the students themselves. In 1827 an 
optional course in Hebrew was introduced and was given for many 
years. The subject, however, was not pursued thoroughly, and was 
taken only by a portion of those students who had the ministry in 
view. Probably the course would have been omitted from the curri- 
culum entirely had not Andover Theological Seminary made some 
knowledge of Hebrew a requisite of admission. 

There was much discussion, not only of the subjects to be taught 
at Bowdoin, but of the methods to be used, and of the order in which 
certain books should be taken up. In the first years of the college 
the instruction, except that by Professor Cleaveland, and that in dec- 
lamation and themes, was almost wholly from textbooks. In the period 
1820-1840 lectures became somewhat more frequent especially in the 
classes of Professors Longfellow, Goodwin, and Packard. In 1841 
President Woods expressed a wish that the number of lectures might 
be increased. He said that they explained what might not be clear 
even in the best textbooks, and relieved the monotony of constant 
recitations ; that they had been tried at many institutions similar to 
Bowdoin, and uniformly with success ; and that he most emphatically 
recommended their further extension. 

There was, however, another side to the question. It is well that 
students should study, and not be mere passive recipients of informa- 
tion. An English student at Oxford remarked that our Rhodes 
scholars knew something of many subjects, but had mastered none; 
that they appeared like persons who had attended a great many lec- 
tures. The Boards perceived this danger early, and in 1824 they 
advised the President "to suggest to the Professors the expediency 
of requiring students in their Senior Year to take notes of the 
Lectures, and at every Lecture to answer such questions as the Pro- 
fessor may see fit to prepare respecting the Lecture immediately 
previous." It will be observed that this vote applied to Seniors only, 
the lectures were given mainly to that class, and were thought, with 
other causes, to create a "Senior ease" which was injurious both to 
mind and character. The Visiting Committee of 1831 said: "From 
the information acquired it seems hardly to admit of doubt, that the 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 65 

last year is one of more leisure than is consistent with the moral and 
studious habits of the pupil — that it operates injuriously, by ex- 
amples on the younger classes. . . It has been generally supposed that 
the studies of the Senior year should be light, in order to enable the 
student to devote more time to historical and miscellaneous reading, 
to review his classical pursuits, and to direct his attentions to sub- 
jects favorable to his further professional studies. It may well be 
doubted whether this object is often attained." In the opinion of one, 
at least, of the College Government students were generally better 
prepared by industrious habits and by mental discipline to enter 
upon the study of a profession at the close of the Junior year than 
at the termination of their college course. 

In 1836 President Allen suggested transferring the study of 
Paley's Evidences from the Senior year to an earlier period and sub- 
stituting some work on Morals and Public Law, or on some other 
subject which would excite greater interest than Paley. In the fol- 
lowing year the recommendation was renewed ; but the Boards took 
no action and President Woods, President Allen's successor, gave the 
Seniors a course in Paley which most of them regarded as very valu- 
able. Later, the course was taken over by Professor Packard as 
Collins Professor of Natural and Revealed Religion; and Professor 
Little said in his introduction to the Packard Memorial that he well 
remembered "the popularity which Paley's Evidences and Butler's 
Analogy possessed among the Senior studies by reason of the in- 
structor." 

The attempt to broaden the curriculum and to allow the under- 
graduates a certain freedom in the choice of studies was accompanied 
by an effort to change the method, or at least the spirit, of the col- 
lege government. In the old days a college faculty was like a coun- 
cil of gods, dwelling in a sphere apart ; it ruled the students by ar- 
bitrary fiat, and its members were approached by them with the ut- 
most outward deference. Such a system, however, was ill suited to 
America, for democracy demanded that professors be transformed 
into guides of their younger brothers, the students, who, it was sup- 
posed, would appreciate their superior knowledge and experience and 
willingly accept their leadership. The new theory was received by 



7 



66 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

the collegesi with varying degrees of favor. At Bowdoin the Boards 
early recognized the desirability of ruling by moral suasion when 
practicable. The code of 1817 provided that "The object of these 
laws, being the improvement and reputation, not the punishment and 
infamy of the Student," where exemplary punishment was not re- 
quired, and where penitence was voluntarily and promptly shown, 
the Faculty might refrain from entering the case on its records. In 
1824 the Boards directed the Faculty to "maintain discipline and 
order," but "to endeavor to substitute a moral power over the heart, 
as a principle of order in the place of fear of punishment." 

There was a change in the bearing of the Faculty which was most 
beneficial. The Visiting Committee of 1826 stated that "the year 
which has just terminated has been a year of unusual quiet, good 
order and attention to study. It is a most pleasing proof of this 
that there has not been during the year a single punishment for a 
misdemeanor of any kind, a thing that has not before occurred since 
the foundation of the college. But one public censure was inflicted, 
that was an admonition for negligence. The committee are inclined 
to attribute this in a considerable degree, perhaps in a great degree, 
to the more easy, familiar and friendly intercourse, which has pre- 
vailed during the past year between the instructors and students than 
in some former years." The Committee spoke with great good sense 
of the superiority of such a relation to an artificial dignity, "en- 
trenched behind well-guarded ramparts of ceremonies and stately 
forms." But they also expressed disapproval of "that too great 
familiarity which is productive only of contempt," and added, "The 
general rule may easily be stated, but the practical application 
must be left to prudence and good judgment, and must vary with 
the various ages, characters, tastes and dispositions, of the students, 
which the instructor has under his care." 

The supervision of the student's daily life was gradually relaxed. 
By the laws of 1817 the Faculty were required to visit the chambers 
of the students frequently "and cause that in them the strictest at- 
tention be paid to cleanliness and good order. At all times, and 
particularly in these visits, they shall observe and superintend the 
deportment and morals of the students, assist them in their studies, 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 67 

[This part of the rule might commend itself even to the extremely 
independent undergraduate of today. A professor should make a 
good horse.] and encourage them in the practice of virtue." There 
was a foreshadowing of college government in a law providing that 
"for the assistance of the Freshman class, the President may re- 
quire of the Senior Class, or any members thereof, to call before them 
the Freshmen, either collectively, or individually, to instruct them in 
Discipline and Decorum, and incite them to diligence, energy, and 
faithfulness in the discharge of their Collegiate duties." By 1824 
the rule for visiting the rooms had been limited to cases where the 
students were suspected of being irregularly absent from them ; and, 
in the early thirties, the requirement of inquisitorial visitation was 
repealed; the professors, however, were still directed to visit the 
students' rooms to give them the counsels of friendship. But this 
rule became a mere paper regulation and was wholly disregarded, to 
the pleasure and advantage of both Faculty and students. 

A method of law enforcement, which caused much difference of 
opinion between the undergraduates and the Faculty, was the at- 
tempt of the latter to compel students to give testimony against 
each other, if the witness did not thereby incriminate himself. Col- 
lege men, usually, look upon those of their number who do this much 
as laboring men regard "scabs" — as traitors to their brothers. The 
best educators of today are, generally, of the opinion that this pre- 
judice, if it is a prejudice, should be respected, but the Bowdoin 
authorities of a hundred years ago thought differently. The Fac- 
ulty vigorously asserted their rights, and the Boards went so far as 
to repeal the privilege, formerly allowed, of not testifying against 
one's self. College custom has usually required that Freshmen shall 
submit to hazing, and it has been a still more rigid rule that quar- 
rels and assaults shall never be taken before the Faculty or the 
courts. But in the thirties some Bowdoin students attempted to 
change these practices. 

In the fall of 1832 a Sophomore complained to the Faculty that 
two Freshmen, whom he named, had, on a certain night, taken part in 
a violent attack upon his person. The Freshmen were duly called 
before the Faculty ; they admitted the assault, but stated that they 



68 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

would not have committed it had they not believed that they were 
justified in so doing, and requested leave to offer testimony. The 
Faculty appointed Professors Smyth and Newman a committee to 
receive communications, and the records state that they reported the 
testimony of certain students — "see paper on file." Apparently no 
further action was taken, the paper has disappeared, and the records 
leave us ignorant of the circumstances which justified Freshmen in 
hazing a Sophomore. 

A similar, or possibly the same incident distorted in memory by the 
lapse of time, was told many years later by Dr. Cyrus Hamlin in his 
autobiography. He states that on entering Bowdoin he was given 
the usual advice to take hazing as a joke, but that "My whole soul 
revolted against this and I replied that I would certainly shoot the 
sophomore that should enter my room by force. It is true I had 
nothing but a bootjack and such other missiles as I might procure, 
but I was resolved not to disgrace my Revolutionary grandfather by 
basely yielding the right of self-defense. The class, conscious of be- 
ing two to one, and indeed, against hazers, three to one, easily re- 
sponded to the appeal to defend ourselves to the last. We really 
prepared no arms but stout heavy canes and such missiles as could 
effectively be hurled by the hand. Some, who roomed near each other, 
had watchwords by which any one too closely beleaguered could call 
out for assistance. The other party wanted vulgar, brutal fun with- 
out any danger of penalty. When they saw a fierce determination to 
turn their weapons against themselves and make their violent dealing 
come down upon their own pates with a vengeance, their ideas of fun 
all vanished and there was not an instance of hazing in our Fresh- 
man year." 

As Sophomores, the class of 1834, unlike many others, retained 
the abhorrence of hazing acquired in Freshman year, and the class 
of 1835 was undisturbed. Some of them, however, ungrateful for 
this forbearance, after they became Sophomores determined, says 
Dr. Hamlin, "to renew the discredited practice of hazing. A few 
moderate impositions upon the Freshmen were borne with too much 
mildness." Two Freshmen fitted up their room in a manner "offen- 
sively" neat ; a number of Sophomores under the leadership of one 




Cyrus Hamlin 
Robert Edwix Peaky 



Oliver Otis Howard 
Luther V. Bell 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 69 

D , squirted a quart or two of ink into the room, and later threw 

in the decaying carcass of a dog. The victims were much distressed 
and spoke of leaving college, but Hamlin advised them to stay and 

inflict some punishment on D , and promised them assistance if it 

were needed. Accordingly the Freshmen took D out one cold 

night and pumped him. Hamlin had ready "about twenty good fel- 
lows . . . with shillalahs ready for use," but the precaution was un- 
necessary, the pumping proceeded without interruption. D 

complained to the President, who politely promised immediate atten- 
tion to a written complaint, but explained that all the circum- 
stances leading to the outrage on D must likewise be investi- 
gated ; and no complaint was made. 

There was talk, among the Sophomores, of thrashing the anti- 
hazers ; but nothing was done that year. In the next, however, Ham- 
lin, though a Senior, was, one night, taken out of bed, roughly 
dragged down stairs and carried to the pump. He wisely remained 
absolutely inert, a cry was raised that he was dead and the hazers 
fled in alarm. Hamlin went to Portland next morning, as he had 
previously planned, and that day the students held a meeting and 
passed resolutions praising him and condemning the assault. Ham- 
lin, himself, took no steps against the hazers, to the surprise and 
disappointment of his friends. He was really planning a most un- 
usual and audacious stroke. In Mediaeval days students were tried 
by University courts only ; and even in the nineteenth century if an 
undergraduate at Oxford was arrested for a minor offense, when at 
home on a vacation, he could claim exemption from the jurisdiction 
of the local court. Such a privilege was unknown in America ; but 
college men regarded themselves as not liable for minor injuries to 
person and property committed against each other, and would no 
more have thought of appealing to the law in such cases than would 
a gangster in the New York "tenderloin." But Hamlin believed it to 
be a Christian duty to see that the laws were enforced. He quietly 
gathered information, and then had the seven students who com- 
mitted the assault upon him arrested, and seventeen others sum- 
moned as witnesses. Great was the excitement. Some of the leading 
citizens of Brunswick, including Doctor Lincoln and Governor Dun- 



70 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

lap, agreed to bear all expenses of the suit. Hamlin's lawyers were 
Erastus Foote of Wiscasset, who had recently completed a very suc- 
cessful term as attorney general, and J. W. Mitchell. The students 
engaged Fessenden (W. P.) and Dublois of Portland and Young of 
Freeport. 

The night before the day fixed for the trial the counsel for both 
sides met and it was proposed on the part of the defendants that 
Hamlin should accept an indemnity and drop the suit. "I replied at 
once," he says, in his autobiography, "that any indemnity, great or 
small, would ruin the case. I would agree to anything my counsel 
advised, only the settlement must involve two things — a written con- 
fession and apology and the payment of all expenses. 

"The counsel pronounced the decision magnanimous and wise. 
The fellows were confounded. They first sent one of their number 
to ask the President if they settled the matter thus if it would pre- 
vent their getting a diploma. He replied: 'Of course not.'* One de- 
clared he would never sign. But towards midnight, softened by 
large potations, he signed, and the case ended. I received the thanks 
of the faculty and the most distinguished friends of the college, while 
some were disappointed that no suitable penalty was inflicted. 

"One of the defendants suffered a lifelong penalty — the young 
lady to whom he was engaged, but of whom he was not worthy, 
promptly dismissed him, declaring she would never be wife of a man 
who would do so mean a thing." 

For a time Hamlin's action seemed likely to become an established 
precedent. A few days after the settlement one student kicked an- 
other in a quarrel, but, being threatened with a lawyer, promptly 
apologized and thrust a five dollar bill in the "kickee's" pocket. In 
1836 a student left Brunswick to avoid a warrant issued against him 
for what was probably an attempt at hazing, and the Faculty voted 
that he should not be allowed to return to college. But the custom of 
students appealing to law in such cases did not take root, much to 
Mr. Hamlin's regret. 

4 The Faculty, however, appear to have been somewhat embarrassed at pass- 
ing over so notorious an outrage, and formally voted that as a declaration had 
been made in consequence of which a prosecution was withdrawn and the diffi- 
culty settled, they would regard the declaration as removing any objection to 
recommending two Seniors concerned for their degrees. 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 71 

Perhaps the future missionary expected too much, especially when 
there was so little permitted outlet for youthful restlessness and 
nervous energy. Students, contemporary, or nearly so, with Mr. 
Hamlin, who became men of high character, and distinguished in the 
church, in scholarship, and in public affairs were, while in Bowdoin, 
guilty of serious infraction of college rules. Henry Boynton Smith, 
during the latter part of his course, was active in the religious life 
of Bowdoin and in later years was a clergyman of national reputa- 
tion; but in the fall of 1831 he was an unregenerate Sophomore, 
and he was suspended for three months for accompanying a sus- 
pended student to Topsham and passing most of the afternoon at a 
tavern, and for refusing to answer a question regarding his own con- 
duct. However, he quickly saw the error of his ways, made a written 
expression of regret, and was allowed to return to college. Ezra 
Abbot became a professor in the Harvard Divinity School, a very 
learned scholar and an international authority on the text of the 
Bible ; but, in his Sophomore year, he was punished for disobedience 
and treating a college officer in an insulting manner. Most astonish- 
ing of all is the college record of William Pitt Fessenden. It is now 
the custom at Bowdoin Commencements for the college to issue to 
the alumni, in place of tickets, a ribbon stamped with the class nu- 
merals of the receiver, to which is affixed a porcelain button with a 
picture of a Bowdoin building or of an alumnus. In 1923 the centen- 
nial of Mr. Fessenden's official graduation, the button bore his pic- 
ture. It was a fitting tribute to one of the noblest men that the col- 
lege or the state ever sent into the service of the nation ; but William 
Pitt Fessenden did not actually graduate in 1823 because the Facul- 
ty held him unworthy to do so. On July 16 of that year they voted 
that as he had been disrespectful when directed by a college officer 
to go to his room, and "whereas he has today been repeatedly guilty 
of profane swearing and has indicated a disorganizing spirit ; and 
whereas also, during the great irregularities of this day, insults were 
offered to the members of the Government from one of the windows 
of said Fessenden's room ; therefore in view of the circumstances and 
considering his general character and the bad influence of his ex- 
ample, Voted, that he be sent home to his Father, and that the Gov- 



72 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

ernment do not recommend him to the Boards for a degree this year." 
It is possible that the Faculty was mistaken in regard to some of 
the matters on which its action was based. Francis Fessenden, in his 
life of his father, says that the latter told his own father that he was 
punished for what he had not done. There is no doubt, however, that 
Mr. Fessenden's college life was less admirable than his later career. 
Horatio Bridge says, in his Personal Recollections of Nathaniel 
Hawthorne, that Fessenden had a few friends to whom he was very 
loyal, but that his general bearing was bitter and repellent. Allow- 
ance, however, should be made for his youth and his birth. He en- 
tered college before he was fourteen, and, though brought up in his 
father's family and treated by Mrs. Fessenden as her own son, he 
was illegitimate. When, however, the young man left Bowdoin for 
work in the world, his character began to change. Nehemiah Cleave- 
land says, in his history, that after Fessenden commenced his law 
studies " 'Consideration like an angel came.' As his mental powers 
gradually unfolded, he found within himself the elements of a higher 
being and of higher satisfactions than his former life had indicated 
or disclosed." He seems to have desired a reconciliation with his alma 
mater, nor had she intended a permanent separation. The college 
possesses a number of letters relating to Bowdoin from the corre- 
spondence of Charles S. Daveis of the class of 1807, a most loyal 
alumnus, and for forty-eight years a member of one or other of the 
governing Boards. Among them is a letter of July 29, 1824, from 
Joseph McKeen, a son of President McKeen, saying: "I have seen 
Prof. Cleaveland on the subject of a degree for your student, Wm. 
P. Fessenden. He informs me that your certificate of his good moral 
character and studious habits the last year, and the payment of the 
usual fees, is all that is required to recommend him for a degree of 
A.B. and restore his name with those of his class." A similar privi- 
lege was given to another suspended student of the class of 1823, and 
in both cases the degrees were granted. 

It is the duty of a college president not only to exercise a beneficial 
influence on the students, but also to maintain cordial relations with 
the governing boards, the alumni, the public at large, and, sometimes, 
with the state legislature. President Allen, because of his old-fash- 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 73 

ioned notions and the rigidity of his character, failed in all these re- 
spects. He did, indeed, carry on a friendly and almost deferential 
correspondence with Governor King, and when Bowdoin placed itself 
in the hands of the state the legislature made liberal grants ; but there 
its generosity stopped. In 1825 the college petitioned for further 
aid, but without success. Bowdoin came to be regarded as a sectari- 
an institution. All the Faculty were orthodox Congregationalists, 
although, for a time, Professor Newman was believed to lean toward 
the Unitarians. President Allen preached and, at the request of the 
students, published a sermon against the teaching of a leader of one 
faction of the Universalists, and, in consequence, it was charged that 
the head of a state institution had publicly attacked a worthy group 
of Maine citizens. A writer of a series of letters in the Portland 
Argus accused the professors of stiffness, Calvinism, taking part in 
revivals, and driving fourteen-year-old boys almost insane with anx- 
iety and fear. He also attacked the method of government, saying 
that the Faculty had forbidden the holding of class meetings, or of 
any meeting of students, without permission, thereby denying the right 
of petition, that the undergraduates had met to consider the case 
of one of their number who had been punished unjustly and to prove 
to the Faculty that it was mistaken, but that they had been refused 
a hearing and admonished for meeting without leave, "and especially, 
for questioning the infallibility of the faculty in the sublime art of 
guessing." 

Bowdoin was condemned as partisan as well as sectarian. At a 
public speaking, one of the students declaimed, or was said to have 
declaimed, 5 a portion of Webster's reply to Hayne. Today this is 
considered a peculiarly patriotic, non-political speech; but at the 
time of its delivery the democrats regarded it as an attack upon them, 
and there was reason for their view. The oration contained not only 
the magnificent defense of the Union, but much contemporary poli- 
tics, now nearly forgotten. The Portland Argus, although denying 

5 It is possible that, as a matter of fact, he had not delivered the speech. Rev. 
Mr. Pike of the class of 1833, when speaking at his fiftieth commencement, said 
that the Professor of Rhetoric had forbidden him to declaim an extract from this 
oration at his Sophomore Exhibition. Perhaps the change was made at the last 
moment after the programs had been printed and so the Argus was misled. 



74 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

a charge made by its rival the Gazette that it was unfriendly to 
Bowdoin, said that it would endeavor to convince the government of 
the college that in times of high political excitement it was unwise to 
permit the declamation of partisan speeches. 

At this very moment, when public feeling was so unfavorable to the 
college, the Boards felt obliged to apply again to the legislature for 
money. They were under the further disadvantage that Colby and 
two new institutions, Westbrook Seminary and the Gardiner Lyceum, 
the latter of which was intended to give a combined agricultural and 
academic education, were, also, petitioners for state aid. Many of 
the legislators felt that Maine had been very liberal in her grants, 
and were unwilling to deplete the treasury for the benefit of institu- 
tions which had not yet begun instruction like Westbrook and Gardi- 
ner. Should aid be refused them, however, their friends would de- 
mand, in the name of equality, that Bowdoin be treated in a similar 
manner; should help be given, it would diminish the sum that other- 
wise might be allotted to Bowdoin. Moreover, it was argued that if 
the college needed money she should throw her wild lands on the 
market, thereby at once replenishing her treasury and benefitting the 
people of the state. That the land must be sold at a great sacrifice 
was a circumstance to which these critics of Bowdoin paid little heed. 
A bill was, however, reported to the Senate giving Gardiner one 
thousand dollars, Westbrook two thousand, and Bowdoin three thou- 
sand. The Senate cut Bowdoin's share to fifteen hundred dollars ; 
an amendment raising it to two thousand dollars was defeated, but 
another requiring two-thirds of the grant to be used to defray the 
tuition of indigent students was carried. The bill as amended was 
laid on the table and ultimately failed to pass. 

The legislature not onty refused financial aid but made very serious 
alterations in the charter. On March 4, 1831, the House considered 
a bill giving the Governor and Council power to appoint a committee 
which should, in conjunction with the Visiting Committee of the 
Boards, examine the students and the moral condition of the college. 
Representative Holden of Brunswick oifered an amendment giving 
the Governor and Council power to fill vacancies in the Boards. The 
bill and amendment were referred to a committee, which reported 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 75 

unfavorably on the amendment. Holden strongly opposed the report. 
He said that the college was the property of the state and that the 
state should "overlook" it. It seems strange that a representative 
from Brunswick should attempt to diminish the powers of the college 
corporation, and, indeed, some of the legislators appear to have 
feared it was a case of a Greek bearing gifts ; and that, once the 
state had taken control of the college, it would be called on to con- 
tribute liberally to its maintenance. 6 Holden denied that his amend- 
ment was a trap, but it was defeated by a vote of 59 to 39, and the 
bill itself, also, failed of passage. 

Another attempt to extend the authority of the state was more 
successful. On March 24, 1831, John L. Megquier, himself a grad- 
uate of Bowdoin, introduced a bill into the Senate which provided 
that no president of a Maine college should hold office beyond the 
ensuing Commencement unless he were reelected by a two-thirds vote 
of the Board or Boards who had the right to choose the president. 
The Boards were also given full power to remove the president. A 
second section provided that diploma fees should be paid not to the 
president but to the college treasury. 

The requirement for a two-thirds vote for reelection was struck 
out, the bill was indefinitely postponed, then reconsidered and a 
substitute passed which not only restored the two-thirds rule but 
made it applicable to the election of all future presidents. 

The act was manifestly an attempt, under the guise of a general 
law, to vote President Allen out of office and to prevent his reelection. 
Representative Gorham L. Parks of Bangor, in a speech defending 
the bill, frankly stated that its object was to get rid of the president 
of a certain college, who, he said, was a very unpopular and unfit 
man. 

When Commencement came President Allen and the Boards of 
Trustees and Overseers were obliged to decide if they would recog- 
nize the act as constitutional. The Trustees voted to acquiesce ; the 
Overseers disagreed and then recalled their vote and concurred. It 
had been suggested that President Allen be reelected and immediate- 

6 For the same reason objection has been made to recognizing the University 
of Maine as a "state institution." 



76 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

ly resign; but he refused to give any pledge. The Trustees twice 
attempted to choose a president, but no candidate received an abso- 
lute majority, still less the two-thirds vote required by the Act of 
1831. The Boards then adjourned, and the duties of the presidency, 
by operation of a college law amended at this meeting, devolved up- 
on the Faculty who divided the greater part of them among Profes- 
sors Newman, Upham and Cleaveland. 

The Boards had appointed Stephen Longfellow of Portland their 
solicitor and had directed him to defend the college and its officers 
against any suits which Allen might bring, and to request the legis- 
lature, at its next meeting, to become defendant in these suits or to 
take such course as it might deem for the best interests of the college. 
A committee, which included ex-Governor King, future Governor 
Dunlap and future United States Senator Reuel Williams, was chos- 
en to petition the legislature for the repeal of that part of the act 
relating to colleges, which required a two-thirds vote for the election 
of a president ; the committee was also directed to renew the appli- 
cation for financial assistance. 

At the next Commencement the Committee reported that the legis- 
lature had failed to grant either request ; the Trustees voted to make 
another effort to obtain a repeal of the crippling two-thirds restric- 
tion, but the Overseers disagreed. Mr. Longfellow announced that 
the legislature had refused to defend its own act, and a letter was 
received from Simon Greenleaf, an eminent legal writer of Portland, 
and soon to be professor at the Harvard Law School, saying that he 
deemed it proper to notify the Boards that he was about to bring an 
action to test the constitutionality of the law which was supposed to 
remove President Allen. Dr. Allen, himself, wrote to the Treasurer, 
asking for the payment of his salary and perquisites, and made a 
respectful application to the Boards to know if they would rescind 
their votes of the preceding September and remove the obstacles to 
his discharging his duties as President, which, he stated, he was 
ready and willing to perform. But a special committee to which the 
letters were referred reported that it was inexpedient to repeal the 
resolutions ; and the Boards agreed. Meanwhile Bowdoin was left 
without a President ; the saving of the salary gave a much needed 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 77 

relief to the treasury, but the reputation of the college suffered. 
Accordingly, on March 18, 1833, the Faculty voted "that Professor 
Cleaveland be requested to write to the Hon. S. Longfellow, urging 
him to use every effort to bring the case of the President vs. the 
Trustees to a speedy decision." Mr. Longfellow's endeavors were 
successful. Dr. Allen had gone with his family to Massachusetts, 
and plaintiff and defendant being citizens of different states the case 
fell under national jurisdiction, and was tried in the Circuit Court 
at Portland in May, 1833. It was a curious situation. The plain- 
tiff had been removed, against his will, from the Presidency of Dart- 
mouth, by virtue of the principles to which he now appealed to save 
him from a like fate at Bowdoin. He had helped to place Bowdoin in 
the hands of the legislature, and he was now seeking relief from the 
consequences of his own act. The circumstances of the trial were, 
however, exceedingly favorable to him. The Circuit Court was com- 
posed of Justice Story of the United States Supreme Court and 
District Judge Ware. Judge Ware was a Democrat, he had been 
editor of the Argus, and he would naturally sympathize with the 
treatment of colleges as public rather than as private institutions, 
especially when the college in question might be described as Feder- 
alist. But Judge Ware had been appointed a Trustee under the Act 
of 1831 ; he, therefore, had a personal interest in the matter at issue 
and declined to sit, and Judge Story tried the case alone. Story had 
concurred in the majority opinion of the Dartmouth College case, and 
he was a firm believer in its principles, and in the freedom of learned 
institutions from political control. His decision not only replaced 
Dr. Allen in the presidency, on the ground that he held it during 
good behavior, under a lawful contract which the legislature could 
not modify, but stated that the supposed grant to the legislature of 
the right to alter the charter gave no power to change the member- 
ships of the Boards, and also that the grant itself was not legally 
made. 

The opinion stated that Bowdoin College is a private charity 
over which the legislature has no authority, unless it is reserved by 
the charter founding the college. By the sixteenth section of the 
charter, the legislature is given authority to alter or annul any of 



78 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

the powers vested in the corporation "as it shall be judged necessary 
to promote the best interests of the college." The legislature cannot 
meddle with its property or extinguish its existence. The legislature 
is the judge of the best interests of the college, but it can do nothing 
plainly destructive of that interest. The present case, however, does 
not rest on the powers given to the legislature. The Act of Separa- 
tion of Maine and Massachusetts protected the charter against al- 
teration, except by the consent of the Boards of Trustees and Over- 
seers and the legislatures of Maine and Massachusetts. On June 12, 
1820, the legislature of Massachusetts assented to any change in the 
charter, not affecting the rights and interests of Massachusetts, 
which the Boards might make with the assent of Maine. Massachu- 
setts had certain rights and interests in the college, including the 
preservation of the visitorial power in the hands of the persons to 
whom she had given it, the Trustees and Overseers appointed in the 
manner required by the charter. Massachusetts did not consent to 
any change the legislature of Maine might make, but only to such as 
the President, Trustees, and Overseers might make, with the consent 
of the Maine legislature, and if that body has made any without re- 
quiring the previous or subsequent consent of the Boards, the act is 
void. To modify the charters the legislature of Massachusetts and 
Maine must concur in the same thing. "Nay more, it is greatly 
doubted whether any modification can be made in any of these fun- 
damental articles unless the specific modification has been assented 
to by both states. Neither Legislature can agree ab ante to any modi- 
fication which third persons may make." Massachusetts assented to 
a modification of the charter, four days later Maine passed a similar 
resolve to take effect provided that Massachusetts should agree 
thereto. Her previous act was not an agreement to that resolve. 
"This miscarriage of the parties was probably unintentional but not 
on that account the less fatal." 

But supposing the modifying law of 1820 to be constitutional, 
what is the power given? The provision is, that the President, Trus- 
tees and Overseers of Bowdoin shall retain their powers, etc., subject 
to be "altered, limited, restrained, or extended by the legislature, 
etc., as shall, etc., be judged necessary to promote the best interests 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 79 

of said institution. The word 'annul' which occurs in the sixteenth 
.section of the original charter, is omitted in this act, showing that 
the authority to annul was designedly withheld from the Legislature. 
Even the words of the sixteenth section, in their actual connection, 
exclude any authority to annul the charter; for to annihilate the 
college would not be exactly the way to promote its best interests. 
Under this act the powers of the existing Boards may be extended, 
limited or altered, but they cannot be transferred to others." No 
authority is given to the legislature to add new members. It has been 
said that the Boards have assented to the law. They have only ac- 
quiesced. Moreover their approval could not give effect to an un- 
constitutional law. 

"Again President Allen held an office under lawful contract with 
the Boards, by which he was to hold the same during good behavior 
with a fixed salary and for certain fees. This was a contract for a 
valuable consideration. The act of 1831, so far as it seeks the re- 
moval of President Allen, seems unconstitutional and void." 7 Judge 
Story awarded President Allen his diploma fees, but refused him his 
salary on the ground that the suit for it should have been brought 
against the college itself. But this was a matter of minor impor- 
tance, a United States judge, and one of the ablest in the country, 
had not only restored President Allen, a somewhat doubtful benefit 
to the college, but had annulled the act of 1820, and freed Bowdoin 
from the control of the legislature. Great lawyers of the Dart- 
mouth College school endorsed the decision fully. Joseph Hop- 
kinson, counsel with Webster for the college at the great trial, wrote 
Story that he was the man for "a constitutional corporation ques- 
tion." Chief Justice Marshall, in a letter to Story acknowledging the 
receipt of a copy of the opinion, said: "It is impossible a subject 
could have been brought before you on which you are more complete- 
ly au fait. It would seem as if the State legislatures (many of them 
at least) have an invincible hostility to the sacredness of charters." 
On the other hand, able lawyers, graduates of Bowdoin, considered 

7 The above account of the decision is a summary of a summary forming Appen- 
dix I of Cleaveland and Packard's history of Bowdoin. Mr. Cleaveland did his work 
well, but it is necessary to read the original opinion in order to appreciate to the 
full the strength of Judge Story's argument. 



80 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

that the part of the decision which nullified the surrender of 1820 
was obiter and even bad law. Three years after the decision Reuel 
Williams wrote to Chief Justice Mellen that he believed that the 
Trustees were the sole judges of their own membership. He said: 
"I do not feel bound by the reasoning of Judge Story on that point 
or inclined to disregard the Law which was introduced for the benefit 
of the college and from which the college has derived so substantial 
aid. As to the tenure of office I have nothing to object to the doc- 
trines advanced by Judge Story and would give to every officer the 
full benefit of it, providing the contract be regarded as mutual, but 
I have no idea that the college is to be held liable to pay an officer 
so long as he finds it convenient to hold office, allowing him at the 
same time the right of leaving at pleasure." Twenty years later ex- 
Chief Justice Weston of Maine, who had himself been appointed a 
Trustee by Governor King, said of the grant to the legislature of 
power to modify the charter, "Everybody supposed it done. Judge 
Story ruled otherwise by what I should call judicial sophistry, if I 
were not restrained by respect for his memory. To say the least of 
it, it was in my judgment a direct violation of a principle of law 
which was a most cherished one in my administration, so to construe 
lawful public or private acts and contracts ut ni magis valeant quam 
pereat." 

The question of the exact limits of the opinion as a binding legal 
judgment was not academic, but one of immediate, practical im- 
portance. President Allen wrote to the Faculty that he had been 
declared President de jure, and that he was ready to resume the ex- 
ercise of his office. The members thereupon voted that they consid- 
ered themselves discharged from the performance of the duties im- 
posed on them in 1831, and that they were ready to cooperate with 
President Allen as a member of the Executive Government ; and they 
requested Professor Cleaveland to communicate their decision to 
President Allen. 

President Allen promptly returned and formally took over the 
charge of the college. The circumstances are thus described in the 
Boston Recorder of July 1 7 on the authority of the Portland Mirror: 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 81 

"President Allen met the students and officers of College in the Chapel 
on Saturday morning, read to them the opinion of Judge Story, 
made to them an address, and entered again upon the Presidential 
duties, after a vacation of nearly two years. He was welcomed by a 
display of flags from various parts of the college, and after the ad- 
dress, there was 'a simultaneous burst of applause from the students.' 
The Seniors also sent to the President an address, respectfully wel- 
coming his return, etc. The Professors readily resigned the Presi- 
dential duties to President Allen. The young gentlemen have re- 
quested for publication a copy of the address, which they denominate 
'very eloquent and highly satisfactory.' " 

Accordingly when the Visiting Committee came to Brunswick for 
their regular examination they were deeply impressed with the impor- 
tance of the decision which went to the remodelling of the Boards 
themselves, and might result in the gravest injury to the college. The 
Committee hinted that the college might be liable for the sums given it 
because of its surrender of independence and said that it was evident 
that a seizure of complete independence by the college would mean 
the renouncing of further aid from the state, that Judge Story's 
decision rendered Bowdoin liable to be regarded for a long time as a 
foreign institution, that a sentiment against it would be strength- 
ened, and that learned institutions in general might suffer. The 
Committee therefore advised that the college should not exercise its 
extreme rights under the decision, and pointed out that it was in no 
way responsible for the overthrow of the act of 1831. The Com- 
mittee, however, could obtain no aid from the Faculty, who fully 
acquiesced in the restoration of President Allen. Neither the Boards 
nor the legislature would attempt to reopen the case or even to 
force a compromise. The Boards were, however, obliged to deter- 
mine what effect Judge Story's decision had on their own member- 
ship. "The Overseers resolved that an appointment under the Act 
of 1821 gave no right to a seat in their body, that certain subsequent 
elections were invalid, that only forty persons were now lawfully 
members, and that there were five vacancies. The Trustees, on the 
other hand, disregarded this portion of the decision as extra-ju- 



82 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

dicial, 8 and although it was tacitly understood that no new elections 
should be made, it was twelve years before their number was reduced, 
by death and resignation, to the thirteen provided for in the charter, 
and over forty years before the last trustee appointed by Governor 
King [Judge Weston] ceased to meet with the Board." 

President Allen found his victory but a partial triumph. Profes- 
sor Little says that at first he was received in Brunswick "with much 
of the favor that accompanies a firm and successful defense of one's 
rights. The prejudice against him, however, on the part of influen- 
tial members of the Boards continued as strong as ever. Unfortu- 
nately, within a few years, his unpopularity with the students 
increased to an extent that rendered his position unpleasant. In 
deference to the opinion of friends, who believed this two-fold antag- 
onism prejudicial to the interests of the college, he tendered his res- 
ignation in 1838, to take effect the following year." 

But the letter of resignation itself showed that President Allen 
neither wished to go, nor believed that he ought to go. He admitted, 
indeed, that he had made mistakes, but after this brief and general 
confession of his human liability to error, he spoke of his efforts and 
successes, but added that it having been suggested that the interests 
of the college would be served by the appointment, erelong, of a new 
head, he was willing to give the Boards the opportunity to take such 
action, if they deemed it advisable. The Boards promptly availed 
themselves of the offer and accepted the resignation. There re- 
mained the question whether there should be any of the hypocrisy 
usual in such cases. A Trustee, John Holmes, in earlier days a 
leader of the Maine bar and one of the counsel for Allen in the 
Dartmouth College case, offered resolutions which are not entered 
on the records but which probably expressed regret at the loss of 
President Allen's valuable services. The Board, however, was too 
honest or too angry to tell the conventional lie, and referred the res- 
olutions to a committee, which reported them in a new draft. The 

8 They did, indeed, hold out the olive branch by declaring that the seats of 
certain members of their Board appointed by the Governor were vacant because 
of non-attendance but the Overseers non-concurred in the reason for the vacancy 
and the Trustees thereupon voted that their resolution had been non-concurred in 
and repealed and annulled it. In 1838 they invited the Governor, Edward Kent, 
to sit with them, ex officio, but he did not do so. 



PRESIDENT ALLEN 83 

committee, however, while not absolutely ignoring what everybody 
knew, yet treated President Allen very courteously. They deplored 
that "from the unfortunate collisions between the state and the col- 
lege, and other causes his power of usefulness to the cause of good 
learning in this institution has for the present been to some extent 
diminished," but expressed high appreciation of Dr. Allen's talents, 
learning, and virtues ; and as a further testimonial of respect gave 
him during the coming year leave of absence as his own business and 
personal convenience might require. President Allen, originally, 
made his resignation effective at the close of the academic year, but 
realizing that it might be convenient for the new President to take of- 
fice earlier, changed the time to May. The Boards on their part con- 
tinued President Allen's salary to the end of the college year. Thus 
far both parties had behaved with decorum, if with a somewhat un- 
usual frankness. Unfortunately, while the frankness was maintained 
to the end, the decorum was not. The circumstances of President 
Allen's departure from Brunswick are thus described by a student in 
a letter to a friend, dated May 8, 1839 : "Last evening we illuminated 
Pierce Hall 9 in seven of its windows very brilliantly with about fifty 
candles, and the hint being taken from it the colleges both [Maine 
and Winthrop] were prettily illuminated at about ten o'clock in the 
evening the freshmen and sophomores making huge noises with divers 
cornets and sackbuts and psalteries, ringing the college bell, etc. etc. 
uninterrupted by the officers of college ; for Mr. Allen yesterday left 
the town, after having the previous day [Sunday] assembled a large 
concourse of people at l/r> past four p.m. to hear a farewell address, 
and uttering the most violent tirade and jargon of foolishness and 
impotence and wrath that the man's capabilities and the time and 
place collectively, would admit of. He scourged the students, the 
faculty, the overseers, the legislature, all with much bitterness, and 
rehearsed in his own peculiar manner all the college offences and 
crimes which he could remember, speaking very indignantly of a 
'gentle animal' which students had locked up in a recitation [room] 
in olden times, of the levees which he had given to improve the manners 
of the students, of the ingratitude of the students, etc., and finally 

9 A privately owned building where some of the students roomed. 



84 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

thanked the Lord that as he had only remained here for the sake of 
the good moral influence which he knew he had exerted in the chapel 
on Friday afternoons, he had by this means been enabled to save some 
souls. He charged everybody with everything, spoke harshly and 
rejoiced that he was biting the biters and when he read the last hymn 
for singing, the choir rose and departed without performing this 
part of the service." 

It is probable that some undergraduates desired a more vigorous 
manifestation of their feelings than racket and a harmless illumina- 
tion, for just after Dr. Allen's departure, the empty President's 
house burned down, and it was believed, though never proved, that the 
fire had been set by students. The house was an old wooden building 
of little value. The Boards appointed a committee to consider the 
erection of a new one but nothing was done, and consequently the 
succeeding President found it easier to carry out his own wish of 
living at a distance from the campus, a matter of some importance 
in the administration of the college. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE ADMINISTRATION OF PRESIDENT WOODS 



THE choice of a successor to President Allen proved a matter of 
extreme difficulty, largely because of denominational rivalry. 
Bowdoin had been established by the efforts of Congregationalists 
and was intended to be a fitting school for their ministers and a bul- 
wark of their faith, but about 1819, after much internal conflict, there 
had come the Unitarian schism; the Unitarians claimed that they 
were Congregationalists as well as the "orthodox" ; that the differ- 
ences now dividing the two branches of the church were not in the 
minds of the legislators who granted the charter, or of Mr. Bowdoin, 
and that they should not influence the choice of officers of the college. 
The Episcopalians also resented exclusion. The most prominent 
layman of that church in Maine, Robert Hallowell Gardiner, was for 
forty-nine years a member of one or other of the governing Boards, 
and, as such, he waged constant and vigorous war against making 
the college narrowly denominational. By 1839 the orthodox Con- 
gregationalists had only a minority of the Trustees, but they still 
controlled the Overseers. The Unitarians did not attempt to elect 
one of themselves president ; but they may have hoped for the selec- 
tion of a Congregationalist of very moderate opinions. On Novem- 
ber 15, 1838, the Boards held a special meeting to choose a president ; 
the Trustees elected Professor Chauney A. Goodrich of Yale, but the 
Overseers vetoed the choice. On May 8, 1839, Professor William 
Goddard of Brown met a like fate. Both candidates were men of un- 
usual ability and well qualified for the presidency of a college. The 
election of a president seemed very doubtful, but the welfare of 
Bowdoin demanded that a choice be made, and the Boards agreed to 
accept a man who was satisfactory upon the whole, although differ- 



86 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

ing in one or another respect from what each would have preferred. 
On May 9 the Trustees by a large majority 1 elected Leonard 
Woods, Jr., then Professor of Biblical Literature at Bangor Theo- 
logical Seminary, President of Bowdoin, and the Overseers by an 
even larger majority ratified their choice. 

The President-elect was the son of Professor Leonard Woods of 
Andover Theological Seminary, one of the leading Congregationalist 
divines of New England. The younger Leonard was born at New- 
bury, Massachusetts, on November 24, 1807. He was a graduate of 
Union and of Andover, and won wide reputation as a translator from 
the German of Knapp's Theology. He had been editor of the New 
York Literary and Theological Review and an able contributor to 
the magazine, and had served for three years on the Faculty of 
Bangor Theological Seminary. Professor C. C. Everett, who was for 
ten years pastor of the Unitarian Church in Bangor, and who, there- 
fore, should be a well informed if not a wholly impartial witness, said 
in a memorial address after President Woods's death, "His residence 
in Bangor must have been in many respects very pleasant to him. In 
that gay little metropolis of the east there was probably, then, more 
culture in proportion to the population than in any other city of our 
country. Especially were there many cultivated ladies, familiar with 
society as well as with books. The Unitarian influence affected large- 
ly the tone of society in the place, and at that time this implied a 
distinction which we of this generation cannot wholly understand. 
There was an ease and brilliance in the social relations into which 
he was brought with which he had hardly been familiar. We need not 
say how eagerly the young Professor was welcomed to this social life, 
or what a charm he found in it." Indeed there seems to have been 
considerable anxiety lest the attractiveness of the Seminary and the 
unattractiveness of Bowdoin might prevent Professor Woods from 
making a change. 

There were two embarrassments of a personal nature which the 
president-elect, or his friends for him, might fear ; he was young, and 
he was a bachelor. It would not be strange if the Faculty should 

1 There is no official statement of the vote and reports in private letters differ 
slightly. 



PRESIDENT WOODS 87 

feel a little piqued at seeing one so much their junior placed over 
them. Professor Cleaveland had begun his teaching at Bowdoin be- 
fore the new President was born. The Faculty strongly favored an- 
other candidate, Rev. Dr. Peters, and they had even gone so far as 
to pass a vote recommending him to the Visiting Committee. Rev. 
Asa Cummings, editor of the Christian Mirror, said in a letter to 
Professor Woods, Senior, that the Faculty "seemed to desire his 
[Dr. Peters'] appointment with an almost childish impatience." But 
Mr. Cummings made the encouraging, if somewhat unflattering, 
comment on their attitude, that as they had changed their opinions 
quite a number of times they would probably welcome Leonard. 
Robert H. Gardiner expressed himself in stronger terms. The day after 
the election he wrote to the new President : "I am authorized to say 
that you will be received by them [the Faculty] with great cordiality, 
and Prof. Cleaveland has just said to me to write to him and say that 
he must accept, that the interests of the college require that he should 
accept immediately." It was true, moreover, that if youth was a 
disadvantage it must, in the course of nature, disappear ; as a well- 
known Maine politician has said, "Growing old is the easiest thing in 
the world, and the most disagreeable." 

There were social duties incumbent on the President of Bowdoin, 
and in discharging them a wife would be extremely useful. Nehemiah 
Cleaveland hints that various Brunswick ladies were ready to accept 
the position, and, therefore, it would appear that President Woods 
might have removed the embarrassments due to bachelorhood even 
more easily than those arising from youth. He never did so. But, in 
this respect, he sinned, if he was guilty of sin, against light. His 
friends were frank in their counsel. 

The students had a song toasting the Faculty which contained the 
lines : 

"Here's to good old Prex, 
How he hates the female sex." 

Alumni as well as students made frequent reference to the subject. 
It ceased not with the expiration of President Woods's term of office, 
or even with his life. Shortly after Dr. Woods's death, C. P. 



88 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Roberts, a member of the class of 1845, wrote some memorial verses 
in which he said : 

"Learning herself became his bride, 
He had no other love beside." 

At the time of Professor Woods's election various gentlemen wrote 
to him, or to his father, urging the importance of the work which he 
might do as President of Bowdoin, and arguing that his position at 
the Seminary was by no means secure. Rev. Asa Cummings wrote 
Woods, Senior, that he believed that the Unitarians had "shot their 
bolt," that they now saw that it was impossible for them to get control 
of the college but that he feared that should Leonard refuse to accept 
they would feel that after they had consented to the election of three 
different Congregationalists, without result, they were warranted in 
taking an independent course. He said that talk of this nature was 
already heard, induced, he believed, by reports of Orthodox opposi- 
tion to Woods. 

Reverend Mr. Curtis wrote to the President-elect: "By all means 
accept in due form at once ; as accept, I must hope you will. Already 
some Bangor teeth, with which you are not unacquainted have been 
shown against the choice. But you will soon command a course which 
they can only grin after. I was quite surprised at the inveteracy of 
this opposing spirit as it came quite unexpectedly across me yester- 
day, and am sure that it must make your further continuance at 
Bangor uncomfortable." Mr. Curtis also wrote to the elder Woods : 
"Bowdoin you perhaps too well know is largely exposed to Unitarian 
influences. They cannot be clamored down. Our state has for years 
been agitated, and never so much as now — of late, by specious moral 
Projects of all kinds — which cannot be clamored into favor, while 
the agitation of them first cools the best principles, and ultimately 
sets on fire the very worst amongst us. 

"My dear young friend and brother has entirely won my strong 
confidence by a masterly grasp, and on the whole a prudent and kind 
course on these questions. He knows how to be firmly Orthodox but 
not irritating, litigous or ungentlemanly ; to be anxious that the 
church should put first all her graces and 'above all' her charities as 



PRESIDENT WOODS 89 

the band, but not as the life of her perfectness. We are to be Anti- 
Slavery or Anti War-Like or Anti-Intemperance according to some, 
until we are nothing beside." 

Mr. Curtis urged that a man like Woods was needed in a high 
literary station in Maine, and that the station had been providential- 
ly opened; that he would be popular with the students, the Unitarian 
party, and influential men of all parties ; that he would, by a digni- 
fied course, bear down the slight opposition which he would meet 
with; and Mr. Curtis expressed the hope that he would be able to 
win over many of his opponents to the ways of truth and peace. Mr. 
Curtis ended with the warning, "If he do not accept the same party 
[the ultra-conservative Congregationalists?] will at Bangor work 
him ill and work him out." Reverend Mr. Shepley reminded the elder 
Woods that the Seminary was unendowed, and its fate in a measure 
uncertain. 

The fear that Professor Woods might decline the presidency of 
Bowdoin was unfounded. Though pleasantly situated at Bangor, he 
had already been considering a change; and he accepted the honor 
and opportunity now given him. 

The new President's inauguration took place at the Commence- 
ment following his election. Dean Everett says : "He appeared be- 
fore the congregation slight and graceful. A large pile of manu- 
scripts lay before him, but at these he did not glance. For nearly 
two hours he held the assembly entranced by his rich eloquence." 
He fearlessly discussed the comparative merits of religion and of 
science, and of past and present time. It was a key-note speech, the 
fitting beginning of a great presidency ; but the greatness was of a 
kind that made slight appeal to many of the alumni and special 
friends of Bowdoin. They were Yankees and Puritans, though Puri- 
tans of the nineteenth, not the seventeenth century, Leonard Woods 
was a mediaevalist. He glorified the ages of faith, when the care was 
for the soul rather than the body. He believed that science had done 
much for men and should not be despised but that it should take a 
subordinate place, because it dealt only with the material. It seemed 
to him that the present, humanitarian age, in its zeal for man, was 
beginning to neglect God. Though repeatedly urged to hear Henry 



90 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Ward Beecher preach, he consented only once, and on that sermon 
he made the stinging comment, "Everything hortatory, nothing 
precatory." 

But if President Woods repudiated the material as end he exalted 
it as means. In 1840 he visited Europe. Writing from England he 
said: "All my prepossessions in favor of the English system of edu- 
cation have been justified after the most minute inspection. The 
studies are not more extensive and thorough than with us ; but there 
is here a magnificence of architecture an assembling of paintings, 
statues, gardens and walks ; above all a solemnity and grandeur of 
religious worship which does more to elevate the taste and purify 
the character than the whole encyclopaedia of knowledge." 

There was much truth in this, and truth whose proclamation was 
greatly needed in the America of 1840, of Dickens' "American 
Notes" and "Martin Chuzzlewit." Dean Everett says : "I think that 
under President Woods, Bowdoin college offered means of education, 
in some respects unequalled in the country. Students found them- 
selves at once in the presence of a culture that might have been the 
product of the best universities and the most polished courts of the 
old world. They received from their president an influence such as 
has been well remarked . . . men go abroad to seek ; such as breathes 
in the aisles of old cathedrals. They learned from him what reverence 
means and loyalty. They learned that society is not a mere human 
invention. They felt the divinity that is behind the family and the 
State." 

Alumni as well as students felt the new influence. 

But if men came to appreciate the worth in President Woods's 
mediaevalism, the recognition was sometimes slow. The truth which 
he saw was by no means the whole truth, and it made slight appeal 
to many who had united in his election. For this and other reasons 
there came an unfortunate breach between President Woods and a 
number of the alumni. The Congregationalists thought of Bowdoin 
as their college and expected its President to be a leader in their 
ranks. President Woods fought a long, hard fight against making 
the college narrowly denominational ; he often differed with the most 
influential men of his church; and he came to hold aloof from its 



PRESIDENT WOODS 91 

meetings and its work. He was frequently misunderstood. Although 
opposed in many respects, to the individualism of his day, in per- 
sonal matters he was intensely individual. Dean Everett says : "He 
would sympathize with you but you must not lay hands on him. He 
would work with you but it must be in his own way." He arrived at 
his conclusions by a somewhat peculiar method of reasoning which 
made him seem almost dishonest to those who did not understand his 
mental processes. Reformers thought that he was against them be- 
cause he could not go to the extremes which they did. He was much 
interested in the temperance movement, and even joined certain im- 
perilled students in a pledge of total abstinence for a period which 
would cover the remainder of their college course ; but because he 
could not condemn the occasional drinking of wine he was regarded 
by many as an opponent of what, in truth, he earnestly desired. 
Such misapprehensions he quietly accepted. When a slight expla- 
nation would have made all clear, he often had to be urged to give it ; 
and sometimes even then he persisted in silence. 

This disregard of censure was part of a general indifference, which 
was regretted by the President's warmest admirers. Dr. Woods was 
physically indolent, and he lacked ambition. Moreover, his stand- 
ards were high and he would not fall below them. Hence he wrote and 
spoke but little. Again and again he evaded that special duty of 
the President, the preaching of a baccalaureate sermon. Remon- 
strances were unavailing. In this as in all things the President, 
though gentle and courteous, was very firm. 

President Woods showed marked independence not only in his re- 
ligious views, but also in his theories of college administration. Dean 
Everett says : "When he was called to his office there arose in his 
mind the ideal of a college president. It was not that of the con- 
ventional president, not that, perhaps, of those who called him to the 
place. He believed that in every young man's heart is a principle of 
honor. If that can be touched the young man is safe ; if it is not, no 
matter how correct his course, his education is a failure. Two things 
he may have learned from his own president, Dr. Nott, namely, dis- 
trust of what is technically known as college discipline, and faith in 
personal influence. His views became enlarged and confirmed by his 



92 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

knowledge of the methods used in the Jesuit College at Rome, which 
was thrown freely open to his inspection, and by his observation of 
the methods employed at Oxford. Yet his course was so much the 
expression of his own nature that we need hardly look abroad for its 
source." His opinions were too advanced to meet with the approval 
of his colleagues of the Faculty. The result of this difference has 
been vividly described by President Hyde in his introduction to Minot 
and Snow's Tales of Bowdoin. He says : "We have had two dis- 
tinct theories of college life ; one that of Presidents McKeen, Apple- 
ton, Allen and Harris, and the great professors, Packard, Smyth, 
Newman, Cleaveland and Upham, which treated students as boys un- 
der parental discipline [Does Cleaveland really belong here?]. This 
theory was never an entire success, according to the standards and 
expectations of its advocates. The seven other devils, worse than the 
first, were always forthcoming to occupy the chambers which were 
swept and garnished by 'the Executive Government.' 

"Yet, these founders of our academic tradition builded better than 
they knew for in the grotesque aspect of policemen, patrolling the 
campus by day and chasing miscreants by night; and in the more 
dubious role of detectives scenting out deviltry in Sodom and Gomor- 
rah, as the ends of Winthrop Hall used to be called ; sifting the evi- 
dence in solemn conclave at Parker Cleaveland's study; and meting 
out formal admonitions and protracted rustications to the culprits ; 
these grave professors were lending to mischief just that dash of 
danger which served to keep the love of it alive. 

"President Woods, whose administration was contemporaneous 
with the latter stages of this boisterous boyhood of the college, was 
wise enough to appreciate the worth of this then deprecated side of 
student life. In his mild and charitable eyes, robbed henroosts, trans- 
lated livestock, greased blackboards, and tormented tutors, were in- 
deed things to be perfunctorily deplored ; but they were not deemed 
specimens of total depravity, or cases of unpardonable sin; nor was 
he as insistent upon meting out a just recompense of reward to the 
culprits, as his more strenuous colleagues thought he ought to be. 
This mingling of austerity on the part of the faculty, which made 
mischief of this sort worth doing, with extreme leniency on the part 



PRESIDENT WOODS 93 

of the President, which insured immunity from serious penalty, made 
the college from 1839 to 1866 probably the best place that there 
ever was in the world for boys to be boys, and to indulge that crude 
and lawless self assertion which was the only available approach 
which the colleges of that day afforded to manly courage and ordered 
independence — Elijah Kellogg was the consummate flower of such 
a regime ; and 'Phi Chi' gives it appropriate immortality in song." 

It would, however, be utterly unjust to President Woods to re- 
gard his influence as of a negative or merely moderating kind ; it was 
positive and active. "The one ambition of his life was to touch what 
was best in the hearts of the young men entrusted to his care. Once, 
after a grand success had been accomplished in this work, to one 
who had been his helper in it he exclaimed, 'The salvation of one of 
these young men repays for the expenditure of very much labor, 
anxiety and patience.' " 

President Woods began his administration by a fortunate appli- 
cation of his principles. The close of President Allen's rule had been 
marked by more or less disorder. "The leaders of the disturbances 
were good-hearted fellows of ability and promise, but somewhat wild. 
They found themselves, suddenly summoned, one after the other to 
appear before the president. The call was a surprise, for, as one of 
them quaintly puts it, 'all the old scores had been worked off, and 
there had been no time to run up new ones.' They went, however, at 
the call. There was nothing said about old scores or new ones. The 
president met them with that kind of graceful courtesy that was pe- 
culiar to him. He talked to them of the opportunities of college life, 
and made them feel as though it had been their thought rather than 
his, the obligation that such opportunities impose. This simple con- 
versation held with one as he sat with him in his study, with another 
as he walked with him among the pines was sufficient to transform 
these young men. He saved them to themselves, to the college, and 
to the world." 

The President's success was in part due to his distinctive person- 
ality. He attained the ideal held up by the Visiting Committee of 
1826, avoiding at once pomposity and great familiarity. Professor 
Chase, to whom, as an alumnus of Bowdoin and a professor at Union, 



94 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

President Woods was a subject of special interest, wrote an account 
of him for the Union Alumni Monthly. He says : "In appearance 
President Woods was a scholarly, slender figure. His black hair, 
combed low at the sides, gave his face a somewhat monkish look. 
His manner was tranquil, unaffected and kindly, though never hearty. 
There seems to have been a dignity in his presence which compelled 
respect ; no one would have thought of being familiar with him, yet 
one carried away an impression of graciousness rather than formal- 
ity. Stories still current in Brunswick illustrate his quiet humor, 
his precise and chosen speech, and his felicity of phrase." 2 

Under President Woods there was a slight approach to student 
government. Some things, hitherto forbidden, were allowed ; but the 
leaders were held answerable should harm result. It had been the 
custom for the Freshmen to celebrate the close of their year of servi- 
tude by a great bonfire. The Faculty would forbid this, the boys 
would light it and the Professors would sally forth to put out the 
fire and seize the culprits. A chase in the pines would then ensue, 
amusing to the boys but undignified and not without risk for the 
Professors. President Woods believed that there was nothing wrong 
in the bonfire but that there was a little danger. Accordingly, he dis- 
covered who composed the committee that had the matter in charge, 
sent for them, and told them that he should hold them responsible if 
any damage resulted. The bonfire had no longer the sweetness of 
fruit that is stolen, and soon, like many another college custom, it 
had its day and ceased to be. But the change was not made, or at 
least not maintained without opposition. In 1856 a Freshman, Henry 
M. King, wrote to a friend that the class had voted not to have a 
bonfire, but that he feared the minority would retaliate by defeating 
a proposal for class caps. 

In accordance with his principles the President made no attempt 
to prevent the annual mock-muster ; but the "general" was directed 
to see that the farce was kept within the bounds of propriety. 

President Woods's views on college government could not fail to 

2 "This was occasionally amusing to the students. Dr. Mitchell told me a story 
of President Woods's stopping a 'scrap' with 'Thompson, desist, — desist, — desist.' 
The boys used to parody the President's style." 



PRESIDENT WOODS 95 

shock many conservative people, yet he was fortunate enough to re- 
ceive some support from a quarter where it was much needed and, 
perhaps, little to be expected. Members of the Visiting Committee 
of 1845, which, however, failed to muster a quorum, reported that 
the order and moral state of the college so far as they were able to 
judge were extremely good. They said: "The President spends most 
of his afternoons in his room in the College, where he is in the habit 
of sending for such scholars as seem by their inattention to study or 
by any slight irregularity to give indication of an approaching dere- 
liction from duty. These he converses with, advises and if necessary 
admonishes ; and if the case requires it, informs the parents that their 
son is failing to derive benefit from being a member of College and 
advises his temporary removal. This course has been pursued in the 
only case in which intemperance has been suspected to exist. It is 
not necessar}' to speak of the great superiority of this mode of disci- 
pline to that formerly adopted, of allowing follies to ripen into acts 
of a graver nature and then to visit them with heavy punishment." 
Such a report must have been very welcome to the President ; but 
committees were not always so appreciative of his methods and Pro- 
fessors were positively hostile to them. Some of the Professors went 
on a kind of strike in the matter of enforcing discipline. The Presi- 
dent lived at the foot of Federal Street. Certain Professors, believing 
that he should be nearer the college, and that he lacked vigilance 
and energy, declared that his inaction relieved them of their obliga- 
tions, and that they would take no steps to enforce the college laws, 
even if these were broken in their sight. On the other hand, the 
President and his friends blamed the Faculty. A correspondent of 
Mr. Daveis wrote that President Woods seemed to be lifting the veil 
at last, and was expressing his feelings quite openly ; that the Facul- 
ty were too old-fashioned to approve of a paternal and fraternal in- 
tercourse with the undergraduates, and were jealous of the President 
whose liberality and courtesy had made him more popular with the 
students than they were themselves. In the summer of 1859 the Pres- 
ident and the Faculty held a conference in the presence of the Visit- 
ing Committee. Both parties were calm and courteous. The President 
expressed his unwillingness to engage in controversy ; but he said that 



96 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

he spent much time, particularly in the afternoon, in his study in the 
yard, that he was always accessible to the students, and that he 
thought it an advantage that he should not be continually mixed up 
with them and exposed to personal insult. 3 He said that when stu- 
dents came to his house to see him in regard to matters of discipline 
they were calmer than if the interview was held amidst other asso- 
ciations, and that the ends of government were furthered. 

The sympathies of the Committee seem to have been divided. They 
strongly disapproved the refusal of some of the Professors to enforce 
the college laws, saying, with much truth, that the delinquency of 
one officer could not justify the desertion of duty by another. They 
discussed the situation at length but uncertainly, declared that they 
did not think it safe to abolish college government or change its prin- 
ciples, but that the government should be paternal ; and expressed a 
hope that the Faculty would work together. They also stated that 
the President was not charged by the Professors with neglect or re- 
fusal to cooperate, that the Faculty should appear to be a unity, and 
that it should be upheld by the Boards. 4 

President Woods's errors were on the side of leniency and at times 
this may have weakened discipline yet that minor disorders should 
occur was to be expected, no regime could avoid them. A vote of the 
Faculty in March, 1842, may indicate a compromise between the holy 
indignation of the Professors and the human sympathies of the Presi- 
dent. The records state that whereas certain undergraduates whose 
names are given, "did engage in throwing snowballs at students as 
they were entering and leaving Chapel at evening prayers, not only 
absenting themselves, but preventing other persons attending, there- 

3 There have been several instances of ducking members of the Faculty, in- 
tentionally or unintentionally. 

4 This was not the first time that official notice had been taken of the need of 
keeping up appearances. In 1847 the Visiting Committee stated that there had 
been a report that the members of the Executive Government were not unani- 
mous in some cases of discipline, and that when once a vote had been taken all 
should act together. The Committee explained that they did not allege that there 
had been a failure in this respect, but that they mentioned the subject in order that 
the Faculty might take care that no false impression should be given to the under- 
graduates. Probably, although the Committee did not wish to say so, the Presi- 
dent and the Faculty had differed, and their disagreement had become known. 
In 1856 the Committee again recommend unity of action to the Faculty, whatever 
might be the personal opinion of individual members. 



PRESIDENT WOODS 97 

by showing great disrespect to a religious service, and great disre- 
gard to property and good order, and bringing reproach on them- 
selves and the college ; 

Therefore, Voted, that they be admonished, and that a copy of the 
Vote be sent to their parents or guardians." 

Violence was committed on 17 Maine Hall where the Freshmen 
were assembled. Access was obtained to the President's study and a 
corpse belonging to the Medical School was placed in his chair. The 
Chapel bell was stolen ; but it being reported that there would be an 
assessment on every student of five dollars to buy a new one and that 
if the old bell were restored no questions would be asked, the bell was 
found one morning lying in front of the chapel. 

Sometimes what began as a relatively harmless frolic narrowly 
escaped being extremely serious. One evening a Professor, who was 
trying to quell a student outbreak, had sulphuric acid thrown on his 
clothes and in his face by a Sophomore. The Faculty promptly ex- 
pelled the offender. He was only a boy, barely eighteen, and he felt 
his disgrace so bitterly that his friends are said to have feared for 
his reason and even his life. On this account, and because he had 
from the first manifested penitence, the Faculty restored him to his 
class and dismissed him to enter another college. However, he does 
not seem to have availed himself of this privilege, or possibly he was 
not received, for the non-graduate catalogue of Bowdoin makes no 
mention of his studying elsewhere. 

On August 1, 1856, Henry M. King wrote to a friend in Portland 
describing a "class war" which might have ended in a pitched battle. 
He said that a few Sophomores who had never been "initiated" (this 
probably referred to a special hazing, not to reception into a frater- 
nity) and who had been at Bowdoin only a short time "initiated one 
of us a very steady innocent fellow ... in a most disgraceful manner." 
The Freshmen thereupon ducked all the Sophomores concerned, ex- 
cept one who roomed with a Junior and was therefore in sanctuary. 
This affront to Sophomore majesty aroused the class ; they swore 
vengeance, and resolved to initiate all the Freshmen a second time. 
The Freshmen determined to resist, armed themselves with dirks, 
clubs, and even pistols, and for two or three nights roomed together 



98 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

as much as possible. Fortunately, the vacation which then preceded 
Commencement was near at hand and soon most of the Sophomores 
had left town. 

In 1862 a large part of the Sophomore class was suspended, with 
the general approval of the students, and with good results, in the 
opinion of President Woods. 

These things, to a certain degree, gratified members of rival insti- 
tutions ; they made good newspaper copy and lost nothing in the tell- 
ing; and Bowdoin men asserted that the most foolish stories were 
circulated and believed. Sometimes they vented their indignation in 
bitter sarcasm. The Bugle 5 of November, 1861, said: "We are able 
to state positively that the story of roasting a Freshman here is an 
utter untruth. It was at the University of the Feejee Islands that 
the event actually took place. Indeed, we are informed by the learned 
Thomas a Curtis [a 'character' who did some work for Bowdoin, 
and for the students] that not even in the College at Bagdad at which 
he graduated with high honors, are Freshmen treated with more con- 
sideration than here — Mr. Curtis also informs us that even among 
tolerably well informed Otmontots reports like the following clipped 
from an exchange, could not obtain credence. 

" 'We are informed that a lot of Bowdoin college students not hav- 
ing the fear of the Faculty before their eyes, were detected in an at- 
tempt on Sunday night last to saw off and throw overboard the belfry 
of the College Chapel, the vandal act came near being successful be- 
fore it was discovered.' 

"Of course there is nothing very difficult about sawing off a stone 
tower only two feet in thickness, but the idea of college students wish- 
ing to disfigure a building which is the pride of all is simply pre- 
posterous." 

Bowdoin also suffered from a widespread belief that there was 
much intemperance in the college. The matter received the careful 
attention of Visiting Committees. Their reports acknowledge the ex- 
istence of a certain amount of drinking, but maintain that the inno- 
cent many are blamed for the public misconduct of the guilty few. 
The committees, however, were not always unanimous. That of 1856 

5 The student annual, which is partly informative and partly humorous. 



PRESIDENT WOODS 99 

stated that there was a serious difference of opinion among the mem- 
bers in regard to the general condition of the college ; some thought 
it rather favorable, others believed it was so bad that if the truth 
were known it would prevent parents from sending their sons to 
Bowdoin. But in 1860 the Committee reported that, "Intemperance, 
one of the most seductive and destructive vices in a College has been 
greatly diminished. It is not fashionable or creditable." 

In 1865 the Committee reported that the moral condition of the 
college was very good, that there was little or no intemperance, and 
that card playing was a thing of the past. 

Smoking appears to have been prevalent, and the Committee of 
1847 noted the fact and said that the practice was frequently in- 
jurious to health and always expensive, and that parents complained 
of the cost of their sons' education without knowing the true cause. 6 

Under President Woods "college customs" underwent a change for 
the better. The Committee of 1849 reported that, "The improved 
moral condition of the students has been indicated by an abstinence 
from many habits and practices, which, though in some degree venial, 
were hardly consistent with good order. And in an uncommon still- 
ness, and quietness, becoming in itself, and favorable to studious 
habits." In 1854 the Committee reported that some usages had been 
abolished by the students themselves, and that others, which could 
not be instantly terminated, had been modified so as to be compara- 
tively harmless. By 1860 the bonfires on the eve of the annual fast, 
the May Training, a kind of Military Fantastics, and the distribu- 

6 The college had made, and then had been obliged publicly to abandon, an 
attempt to forbid smoking, as it did bringing spirituous liquors into college and 
gambling. On August 8, 1822, the Faculty voted, "that every student who is seen 
smoking a segar in the streets, be fined 50 cents," and in 1825 the Boards added 
to their list of prohibitions, "nor shall smoke tobacco." In 1830 this rule was re- 
pealed, but the Boards formally stated that their action was "not to be construed 
into an approbation by the Boards of the practice of smoking by young gentlemen. 
On the contrary, the Boards regard the practice of using tobacco as injurious to 
the health, as holding out temptations to other excesses, and as a practice calcu- 
lated to degrade the character of young gentlemen in college; and the amendment 
of the law is made with the hope that the young Gentlemen will themselves ex- 
amine this subject with the attention it deserves, and come to the conclusion, them- 
selves, to abandon a practice already fixing a stigma on the character of the stu- 
dents of Bowdoin College." 

For many years the Faculty brought their example to reenforce the precept of 
the Boards, and it is said that as late as the beginning of the twentieth century 
professors refrained from smoking in the presence of students. 



100 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

tion at the public speakings, of mock programs, which were usually 
coarse and personal, had been abandoned. One bad habit the au- 
thorities seemed powerless to stop, that of throwing slops out of the 
dormitory windows. 

Various means, both preventive and punitory, for securing better 
discipline were suggested by the Visiting Committees. They advised 
that a special officer, presumably a member of the Faculty, should 
have charge of each entry and see to the enforcement of the college 
laws. Prompt and strict action in dealing with grave misconduct was 
recommended. The Committee of 1854 said that the past year had 
shown that vice and recklessness in a forward state toward maturity 
were brought into college as often as they originated there, and that 
the early removal of the guilty students had prevented much evil. 
The Faculty were anxious that the Committee should recommend the 
establishment of a scale of fines, but the Committee thought that the 
chief advantage of the system, that of the parent receiving notice 
of his son's misconduct, could be obtained by adopting the method 
in use at West Point, that of giving a fixed number of demerits for 
each offense and informing the parent or guardian of the culprit as 
soon as they were incurred. This system, in the opinion of the Com- 
mittee, had the great advantage of providing a self-executing and 
certain punishment. 

The Committee of 1856 advised that when there was need students 
should be firmly separated from college without regard to the feelings 
of their parents or the injury to themselves. The Committee hinted 
that the Professors were the last to discover delinquencies which were 
known to the community about them, and it recommended, as a means 
for obtaining a knowledge of the characteristics and tendencies of 
individuals, the "use of the confidential aid and assistance of the 
sounder and more advanced part of the students." If this meant 
only a friendly cooperation between Faculty and undergraduates in 
helping the weaker brothers, it was an anticipation of a method used 
with success today. If it looked to anything resembling a spy sys- 
tem it was the proposal of men who belonged to a day that was fast 
passing. The Committee regretted that there was no moral in- 
struction until the Senior year and expressed a hope that the Presi- 



PRESIDENT WOODS 101 

dent would find time to deliver one or two addresses to the Freshman 
class at an early period of their course ; and he did so. 

President Woods enriched the spiritual life of Bowdoin, and did 
much to abolish fitting-school methods of discipline. In broadening 
the curriculum he was less successful. For this there were several 
reasons. With his old world sympathies he probably set a high value 
on the classics and saw no special need of reducing the time given to 
them. The Boards also would be averse to such a change, on prin- 
ciple; moreover, the introduction of new subjects might cost money, 
and Bowdoin was poor. The extreme conservatism of Professor 
Cleaveland prevented development in the instruction in natural sci- 
ence. Many felt that there was too much Calculus, but "Ferox," as 
the students nicknamed Professor Smyth, fought valiantly in its de- 
fense. He believed that the standard of scholarship was low at Bow- 
doin, and in one of his reports he discussed this subject, and the 
position of calculus in the course at some length. He said that 
three-fourths of the Junior class had elected the more difficult of two 
textbooks on Calculus and had undergone a severe examination with 
the best results. One of the questions related to a spherical shell, and 
was taken, with slight modifications, from La Place's Mecanique 
Celeste. Professor Smith stated that the test "has fully established 
my conviction that the standard of attainment in my department can 
and ought to be carried still beyond the advanced position it now oc- 
cupies. 

"In respect to an optional course of an inferior grade to be al- 
lowed to such members of the class as may prefer it, I must express 
my confident belief that the result of such a course would be de- 
cidedly disadvantageous. It would appear to me to be a retrograde 
step of a most mortifying character. 

"In the position occupied by the College as a public institution 
having derived in part its resources from the state it has been 
thought its advantages should be open to all desirous of availing 
themselves of them and disposed to make a diligent use of such ca- 
pacities as they may have whether able or not to master the prescribed 
course of study. The consequence is that a greater or less number of 
individuals are retained in every class rather in virtue of their sat- 



102 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

isfactory attention to the studies required than from any real pro- 
ficiency in them. A less severe course would doubtless be better for 
such individuals, as well as beneficial to the remaining number of the 
class, who relieved from the dead weight thus imposed on them might 
easily advance to higher attainments. In making provision for these, 
however, it would appear to me eminently disastrous to open the way 
for students of higher capabilities, disinclined as most students are 
to have their minds really tasked, to indulge in a spirit of laziness, 
denominated in college parlance a want of taste for mathematics. 

"If, in the circumstances in which the College is placed, students 
must be carried through the form of an education within its walls, 
while wholly incapable, either from natural imbecility or the want of 
early training, to pursue with advantage the regular course of study, 
a different and more simple course should doubtless, if practicable, 
be provided for them." Professor Smyth concluded his report with 
the recommendation that the students who took the second course 
should be selected by the Faculty, and that the true reason should be 
assigned "Their inability to proceed with their classmates in the 
regular and more honorable course." 

Like Professor Smyth, President Woods believed that little work 
was demanded of undergraduates. In recommending the establish- 
ment of elective but additional studies, he said that a voluntary 
course of this kind would not be liable to the objection justly urged 
against a voluntary course which gave to the student the option of 
omitting part of the moderate amount of study hitherto required in 
American colleges. But the gentle President was more considerate 
of human weakness than was "Ferox." He told the Visiting Committee 
that, "... While the ardor and success with which this department 
[that of mathematics] is prosecuted is deserving of the highest ap- 
probation, I think it merits inquiry, whether some abatement might 
not advantageously be made in behalf of the considerable number of 
each class who are incapacitated for the higher mathematics." For 
many years no relief was given. Then time and change proved too 
strong even for Professor Smyth, and in 1858 a term was taken 
from mathematics and given to physics. 

Late in President Woods's administration the amount of classics 



PRESIDENT WOODS 103 

required was reduced by allowing Juniors to substitute German for 
Greek, a privilege of which they availed themselves freely. The Latin 
of the spring of Junior year was replaced by a course in internation- 
al law with Vattel as the textbook and Professor Upham as the teach- 
er. Two or three weeks were taken from the classics of Sophomore 
year and given to rhetoric. The quality of the work in the classics 
was not high. Tutor Boody in his report of 1843 stated that the 
progress made by the students was less satisfactory than might have 
been expected, "Which result," he said, "is doubtless attributable, 
in some part to their instructor, but also to very imperfect prepara- 
tion for College as well as to other circumstances over which he could 
have little control." 

Modern Languages, which in the preceding administration had 
won a place almost equal to that of Greek and Latin, nearly lost 
its position as a separate department. In 1853 Professor Goodwin 
accepted a call to the Presidency of Trinity College. He was succeeded 
by Charles Carroll Everett, a graduate of Bowdoin in the class of 
1850, who served two years as Tutor and two as Professor, and then 
lost his reelection because he was a Unitarian. Many objected not 
only to the Professor, but to the professorship as well. Even Presi- 
dent Woods advised uniting it with the Latin professorship ; and the 
Visiting Committee approved the recommendation, saying that, "In 
our judgment it would add to the importance of the Professorship 
[of Latin] and would relieve what has been deemed by many an ob- 
jection to the course of study in the College, arising from the dis- 
proportionate attention to the formal and required study of Modern 
Languages. The Latin being to such an extent the basis of modern 
tongues, the connexion proposed seems natural." 

In 1858 Professor Packard renewed a complaint that his depart- 
ment had suffered because of the attention paid to Modern Lan- 
guages and the Faculty appear to have thought that too much time 
was spent on French, "especially in elementary and grammatical de- 
tails." From 1857 to 1862 the modern language teaching was done 
by an instructor serving for brief terms. During one year it was 
omitted entirely. Then in 1862 the storm-tossed department found 
rest under the headship of Stephen Jewett Young of the class of 



104 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

1859. Mr. Young served as Instructor and Professor for fourteen 
years and from the first showed great ability. The Bugle of Novem- 
ber, 1863, said that "A year's faithful labor here has satisfactorily 
proved his superior ability as a practical instructor. Italian, which 
has so long been a chimerical part of our 'course of study,' and has 
only served a complemental purpose, is becoming a reality to the 
student, and is receiving the attention due to its dignified position in 
the catalogue." 

But the Professor of Modern Languages still remained a kind of 
Faculty Freshman — loaded with extra work ; and in 1866 Mr. Young 
remonstrated. He said that he was supposed to teach French, Ger- 
man, Italian, and Spanish ; to act as librarian and to keep a register 
of absences. He suggested that the librarian-registrar should be 
paid a separate salary, and that the office be given to some one who 
was not already fully occupied. He maintained that his request was 
reasonable, saying, "I do not wish any assistance in my own depart- 
ment, neither do I desire to neglect any of its duties. I simply ask 
to be relieved from so much outside work in order that I may be en- 
abled to give proper attention to the work which properly belongs to 
me." 

In 1839 Professor Newman resigned the chair of Rhetoric and 
Oratory and for two years the only instruction in that department 
was given by a young tutor, who also taught mathematics. The 
Visiting Committee, in their report of 1841, discussed the advisability 
of filling the vacant chair, but confessed that they were unable to 
come to a decision. They pointed out that with the return of the Presi- 
dent from Europe the ensuing year there would be the same number 
of instructors as formerly, but they said that, "... In consid- 
ering the importance to the reputation of the College that the pro- 
fessorships should be full, especially the popular one of Rhetoric and 
Oratory, it may be deemed best for the College that a confiding re- 
liance should be had upon the liberality of the public and the benefi- 
cence of generous individuals to make good any want which the 
filling up of this vacancy may create. It is thought by many that the 
government of the College should go forward without parsimonious 
economy, and do their whole duty in making the Institution all that 



PRESIDENT WOODS 105 

can be desired, and worthy of patronage, and then trust to the 
community to duly appreciate its merits and supply its needs. . . . 
On this subject the Committee give no decided opinion ; yet they must 
say that they incline (because perhaps they have too little faith in 
the benevolence of the community) to the economy of limiting the 
expenditure to the actual resources of the institution." 

The Boards were as prudent as their committee ; for a year no in- 
struction was given in Rhetoric and Oratory, then Professor Packard 
was chosen Professor, with the understanding, on his part at least, 
that his service would be brief, and that he would not be expected to 
teach elocution as Professor Newman had done. 

For the year 1844-1845 Tutor Boody, who had had good training 
in elocution, gave instruction in that branch ; Professor Packard as- 
suming part of his other work. At the close of the year Professor 
Packard reported that Mr. Boody had been extremely successful, 
advised that he be made Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory and 
asked that he, himself, be excused from further teaching of the sub- 
ject. Fearing, perhaps, that he might be suspected of shirking, Pro- 
fessor Packard ended a letter on the matter with the words, "What- 
ever of strength mentally or physically, I possess, has been devoted 
to the college and by divine blessing will be." The Visiting Committee 
reported in favor of excusing Professor Packard, and said that they 
would gladly recommend the appointment of a Professor of Rhetoric 
and Oratory, but that "as the Professorship requires for its duties a 
higher order of talent than the exact sciences" (which, apparently, 
they thought might be taught in parrot fashion), the incumbent 
would expect the salary of a full Professor, and this the college could 
not afford to pay. Accordingly, they proposed that Mr. Boody be 
appointed Professor of Elocution and Instructor in Rhetoric, with a 
salary of eight hundred dollars a year. Both recommendations were 
accepted by the Boards. In 1848 Professor Boody was made Pro- 
fessor of Rhetoric and Oratory and served in that position until 
1854 when he left college teaching to engage in politics and business 
in New York. He probably wished a larger field for his talents, but 
he also may have felt that he was cramped unnecessarily in his work 
at Bowdoin. In 1853 he told the Visiting Committee that no other 



106 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Professor had so many exercises. He stated that he did not mention 
the circumstance for personal reasons, but because it had an ill 
effect on the students, "In fact," he said, "so large a part of my time 
is expended on the work of correcting Themes, that comparatively 
little opportunity can be found for higher and more valuable criti- 
cism, but little for that familiar and personal labor with students,, 
which, if practicable, would be attended with the most satisfactory 
results, and very little indeed for that thorough study and research 
necessary in order to the thorough preparation of lectures, a kind of 
instruction absolutely essential to the highest efficiency of the De- 
partment. 

"The way of verbal criticism, almost the only criticism for which 
the Sophomores are prepared, can be as well performed by a Tutor, 
as by the Professor. A Tutor could also give all needful instruction 
in Elocution." 

Professor Boody was succeeded by Egbert Coffin Smyth, who 
served for two years. Professor Smyth made complaints in regard 
to the amount of work required, similar to those of Mr. Boody ; but 
he did not confine himself to words. At his own expense he hired an 
assistant to give a course in "voice discipline and gesture." He re- 
ported to the Boards that the experiment had been successful, that 
Yale had provided such training the year before, and that other 
colleges had done so earlier, and he asked that the Professor of Ora- 
tory be allowed to employ assistance for this purpose at a cost of 
not over one hundred dollars a year. The Boards made no general 
provision, but until 1866 they annually voted the desired appropria- 
tion, to be expended under the direction of the Faculty. 

In 1856 Professor Smyth resigned and was succeeded by Joshua 
L. Chamberlain, who served for five years. Professor Chamberlain 
was highly pleased with his instructor in elocution, but he became 
anxious lest there be a deficiency of instructed, and he told the Visit- 
ing Committee that some means should be found to compel all stu- 
dents to take the course in voice culture, "as those who most need the 
benefit of it are not always those who voluntarily attend." 

The Professor of Rhetoric had charge of the themes, and Profes- 
sor Chamberlain, whose own writings show the greatest care, gave 



V 




» 



PRESIDENT WOODS 107 

much attention to this part of his duty. In 1856 he reported that 
he had examined eleven hundred themes during the year; and that 
each student was required to revise and rewrite until his theme was 
brought to tolerable accuracy. Professor Chamberlain believed in 
giving free play to the undergraduate mind. In 1857 he told the 
Committee that it was of the first importance to stimulate the pupils, 
and that he avoided discouraging effort by severe criticism. In 1858 
he said that he was confirmed in his belief of the value of rewriting, 
that the mind while composing should not be cramped, attention to 
rules should come afterward. He also realized the importance of 
not allowing his own brain to be dulled by the minute work of a cor- 
rector of themes. In the winter vacation of the college year, 
1857-1858, he spent his time preparing lectures on subjects con- 
nected with his department. He told the Visiting Committee "that 
it is not presumed that these lectures are of primary importance in 
themselves, but the ordinary duties of the department are of such a 
nature as to require of the Professor a constant course of compen- 
sating and invigorating studies. And by embodying the result in 
the form of lectures, he may secure the desirable ends of awakening 
an enthusiasm in his pupils, and of keeping his own style free and his 
mind fresh and whole." 

Various circumstances hindered the development of the depart- 
ment of natural science during President Woods's administration. 
Nevertheless some progress was made. When Professor Cleaveland 
died in 1858 an able successor was found in Professor Paul A. 
Chadbourne, later Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, and 
President of Williams. In 1864 the Josiah Little Professorship of 
Natural Science was founded by a bequest of Josiah Little of New- 
buryport. Mr. Little hoped for the erection of a separate science 
department at Bowdoin like the Maine State College or the Sheffield 
Scientific School, with which his professorship should be connected ; 
but Bowdoin was given a large discretion in the use of the fund. 

During Professor Woods's administration Bowdoin was obliged to 
solve not only the usual problems relating to the curriculum and to 
discipline, but to take a stand on matters which vitally concerned 
both its finances and its position in the community. The first of 



108 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

these questions in time, but, perhaps, the least important, related to 
claims on the Bowdoin estate. Mr. James Bowdoin had bequeathed 
valuable lands to his nephew and grandnephew on condition of their 
taking the name of Bowdoin, with remainder to the college should 
both die without issue or should their issue fail. The grandnephew, 
James Winthrop Bowdoin, received the so-called five mile lots in the 
present town of Richmond, then a part of Bowdoinham. In 1823 the 
college sold him its right of contingent remainder for two thousand 
dollars. Nehemiah Cleaveland says in his history of Bowdoin : "The 
college must have felt poor and sorely bestead when it parted with a 
valuable inheritance for such a mess of pottage. Mr. Bowdoin, who 
never married, died ten years afterward, leaving a property which 
would have made the college rich had it simply held on to its rights." 
It should be remembered, however, that under American law it is an 
easy matter for the lifeholder of an entailed estate to break the en- 
tail. 

Lands in Dukes County, Massachusetts, and the mansion house 
and lot in Boston where the administrative buildings of various re- 
ligious societies and the Hotel Bellevue now stand were given to Mr. 
Bowdoin's nephew, James Temple, the son of Sir John Temple and 
of Mr. Bowdoin's sister Elizabeth. The boy was brought to the 
United States when about five years of age ; in accordance with the 
requirement in Mr. Bowdoin's will his name was changed to James 
Temple Bowdoin, he was educated in America, engaged in business 
there, went to England, became an officer both in the civil and the 
military service, returned to the United States where he may have 
been naturalized, went back to Europe and resided there until his 
death. Mr. J. T. Bowdoin had a son, and as the college was given 
only a remainder, the possibility of further inheritance under James 
Bowdoin's will had been almost forgotten. But thanks to the intelli- 
gence, courage, and energy of President Woods, the college obtained 
a large sum of money from this source. Nehemiah Cleaveland, in an 
appendix to his history, gives a concise and interesting account of 
the affair. He says in part: "On the 31st of October, 1842, Mr. 
J. T. Bowdoin died at Twickenham in England. A newspaper notice 
of the event drew the attention of President Woods, who applied 



PRESIDENT WOODS 109 

through the treasurer to Mr. Reuel Williams for information. Mr. 
Williams replied that Mr. Bowdoin and his son had lately been in 
America, and had taken the necessary steps for breaking the entail, 
and consequently the college had 'nothing to expect in that quarter.' 
On a visit to Boston soon after, the president, in conversation with 
one of the Bowdoin heirs, was informed that Mr. James Bowdoin 
never meant that his property should leave this country ; an ardent 
Jeffersonian Democrat, he had no love for England, and would have 
left nothing to Temple Bowdoin had he supposed that he would re- 
main an Englishman, and the same was indicated by the expression 
of his will. 7 On this hint, President Woods requested Mr. Jeremiah 
Mason to look into the subject. That great lawyer gave it as his 
decided opinion that the college was entitled to its remainder both in 
equity and law. Mr. Charles G. Loring, whose conscience would al- 
low him to engage in no cause which he did not believe to be just, was 
willing to act for the college. The mode advised by Mr. Mason was, 
that the college should take and keep actual possession of the prop- 
erty, leaving it to the opposite party to eject them as it could. As 
the English claimant could be shown to be an alien, his position 
would be embarrassing whether he should attempt to dispossess the 
college by force or by law. 

"Through the urgency of the president and the energy of the col- 
lege treasurer, Mr. McKean, the plan was carried out. Great was 
the astonishment of neighbors and passers-by to find one morning in 
March, 1843, that the vacant Bowdoin lot on Beacon Street had 
been enclosed during the previous night, and already contained an 
inhabited shanty. As soon as the object of the transaction was 
known, much indignation was wasted in the upper circles of conver- 
sation, and the newspapers were unsparing in condemnation of the 
college. Legal gentlemen denounced the proceeding as a specimen 
of sharp and dishonorable practice, which might do in New Hamp- 
shire, 8 but was totally at variance with the high-minded and courte- 
ous usages of the Suffolk bar. It was mildly urged in reply that the 

7 The will stated that all the bequests to J. T. Bowdoin were made "under the 
hope and the expectation that he will return to and continue to be a citizen of the 
United States." 

8 Jeremiah Mason was a New Hampshire man. 



110 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

docking of an entail was an attempt by mere legal technicality to rob 
the college of its just rights, and they who had done this could not 
complain if they were met by technalities in return. 

"Not in Boston only was the proceeding censured. In Maine sev- 
eral of the most influential friends of the college regarded it as futile ; 
and learned judges, themselves trustees, pronounced it all moonshine. 
To persist in the contest under such circumstances called for both 
faith and courage. It was not long before the agents and friends of 
Mr. Bowdoin entered with force the premises, demolished the struc- 
tures and drove off the college tenant. As the sagacious counsellor 
for the college expected and hoped, there had been a forcible entry, 
a dispossession by violence and steps were taken for bringing the 
riotous actors before the proper tribunals, and for restitution of 
actual possession. 

"In this stage of the business, the college received proffers for an 
amicable settlement. The vigorous warfare had brought the enemy 
to terms. From the first, the counsel for college had regarded it as 
eminently a case for compromise, though they were too prudent to say 
so aloud, even to their client. If the court should decide that Mr. 
Bowdoin was not an alien, the college would be cut off entirely. If 
his alienage were proved, the estate would go to the Commonwealth, 
and its disposition would be in the hands of the Legislature. It would 
indeed be strange if that body should not give it to the residuary 
legatee of James Bowdoin's will ; still, it would bring into the question 
a new and disagreeable element with all the uncertainties that belong 
to political action and intrigue. An arrangement was accordingly 
made : the college consented to relinquish its claim on receiving three- 
tenths of the entire property ; sale of the property was immediately 
made and $31,696.69 were added to the college fund. 

"In this short record of a transaction so important to our poor 
college, I have been compelled to omit much that was curious in itself, 
and much that was singularly characteristic of the prominent actors. 
In addition to the distinguished men already mentioned, the college 
was favored through the whole affair with the faithful and filial 
services of Mr. Peleg W. Chandler, and with the able advice of Simon 



PRESIDENT WOODS 111 

■Greenleaf and Benjamin R. Curtis. 9 Above all, the efforts of Presi- 
dent Woods, whether in collecting information, in exploring the in- 
tricate problems of contingent remainders, in urging to action the 
timid and disheartened, or in consultations with those great masters 
of the law, were efficient, untiring, and invaluable." 

The money received from the Bowdoin estate, while very useful, 
was by no means enough to extricate the college from its difficulties. 
The financial situation was indeed alarming. The state grant had 
expired in 1831 and Judge Story's decision had put an end to all 
hope of its renewal. Four years later came the panic of 1837. Over 
eighty thousand dollars of the college endowment of about one hun- 
dred thousand was in bank stock. Some of the banks failed, nearly 
all the others suspended the payment of dividends, and the college 
was obliged to incur burdensome debts to obtain money for current 
expenses. Professor Little is of the opinion that, "It is hardly an 
exaggeration to say that half of Bowdoin's income-producing prop- 
erty was lost during this financial depression." In 1841 the Trustees 
voted that the annual expenses of the college were a thousand dollars 
more than its receipts, and that there appeared to be no likelihood of 
an improvement in this respect. They, therefore, appointed a re- 
trenchment committee to consider the possibility of the reduction of 
expenses, particularly of the salaries of the Professors, and whether 
part of the instruction might be given by tutors, and, if this were the 
case, what Professor could be spared with the least injury to the 
college. The Trustees, however, wished to nourish as well as to am- 
putate the patient ; and they voted that the Faculty be requested to 
prepare an appeal for aid addressed to the alumni, the wealthy, and 
the friends of sound learning generally, and to solicit help from such 
persons during the winter vacation. Accordingly a circular letter 
was drawn up and the President and three of the Professors visited 
the chief towns of the state. In the spring Hon. S. P. Benson of the 
class of 1825, a well-known and popular citizen of Maine, was ap- 
pointed soliciting agent, with a commission of five per cent on all sums 
which he might obtain. "But," says Professor Packard, "the result 
of these efforts was so meagre that the project was abandoned." 
9 Mr. Curtis was later a judge of the United States Supreme Court. 



112 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Sectarian feeling was very strong in Maine, the colleges of that day 
were usually denominational, but at Bowdoin, while the majority of 
the Overseers was Congregationalist, that of the Trustees was Epis- 
copalian and Unitarian. Most of the men who were asked for money 
were Congregationalists, and they refused aid on the ground that 
they had no guarantee as to the future denominational position of 
the college. It was proposed that such security be offered by formal 
vote of the Boards. But before the resolution was introduced its 
friends consulted George Evans, an Overseer, and one of the best 
lawyers in the State. He feared that as the charter said nothing 
about a special church affiliation the Boards had no power to create 
one; but he suggested that the members join in a declaration as in- 
dividuals, and a declaration was issued. It stated that Bowdoin was 
a Congregationalist college, that there was no purpose or wish to 
make any change in this particular, and that the Boards and Aca- 
demic Faculty 10 "should be composed of those who are competent 
and willing to perform their respective duties in a manner not to 
impair or restrain, or in any degree conflict with the moral and re- 
ligious instruction which is designed to be given in the college in 
harmony with its denominational character as herein defined." 

Eleven of the fourteen Trustees and thirty-three of the forty-one 
Overseers affixed their names to the pronunciamento. 

The surprisingly large number of signatures was due to the fact 
that some of the non-denominationalists, including Robert H. Gar- 
diner, waived their personal opinions because of the college's des- 
perate financial condition. Armed with the certificate of orthodoxy 
Professor Upham went forth and returned in triumph with subscrip- 
tions amounting to nearly $70,000.00, chiefly obtained from the 
Congregationalists of Maine and Massachusetts. The Declaration 
had been intended not only as a pledge on which to obtain money but 
as a treaty of peace between the two factions into which the Boards 
and the friends of the college were divided. But war quickly broke 
out over the meaning of the treaty and was waged more fiercely than 
ever. The ultra-orthodox party held that the Declaration promised 

10 The Medical Faculty was wisely spared the imposition of denominational 
fetters. 



PRESIDENT WOODS 113 

in spirit if not in letter that the majority of the members of the 
Boards should be Congregationalists. The liberals, including some 
who had signed the Declaration, maintained that it only required 
that the President and the Theological Professor should be Congre- 
gationalists ; and especially that it did not limit the Trustees in the 
choice of their own members. The moderates controlled the Trustees, 
the ultras th~ Overseers. The Overseers filled their own vacancies, 
but the Trustees could merely nominate members of their body; in 
this as in other matters before their votes could take effect the Over- 
seers must concur. The Trustees nominated non-Congregationalists, 
the Overseers used their veto power, and, as Mr. Cleaveland says in 
his history, "If matters were to go on so, much longer, nothing could 
save that venerable body [the Trustees] from gradual extinction 
under the ever-tightening embrace of this overseeing anaconda." 
Letters from the correspondence of Charles S. Daveis, preserved in 
the college library, show that the liberals felt themselves most un- 
fairly treated. Ebenezer Everett resigned the position of Secretary 
of the Trustees, which he had held for many years, and considered 
resigning his place as Trustee, but decided not to do so. His resig- 
nation of the secretaryship had produced a certain reaction, he 
wished to support President Woods, and also desired to remain on 
the Boards until the graduation of his son, a member of the class of 
1850. In 1858 Robert H. Gardiner sent his resignation to the 
President for presentation to the Boards. He wrote to Mr. Daveis: 
"I always determined to resign my seat at the Board of Trustees 
whenever the college should pass into the hands of narrow-minded 
people and become a sectarian college. That I think has taken place. 
The substitution of Fiske for Everett [as Secretary of the Trustees] 
and the probable resignation of Mr. Williams will doubtless cause 
the vacancies to be filled up by persons who will harmonize with the 
Overseers who seem to have the power of paralyzing the action of the 
very few liberal men that they have in their board. I therefore sent 
to the President my resignation to be presented to the board at their 
next meeting. I have received an answer from the Prest. in which he 
says, 'So far as it is considered as final in regard to your connection 
with the board it is also with regard to me' . . . Doubtless when they 



114 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

have a decided majority and can act out their will, they will make 
the president's situation as uncomfortable as possible in order to 
force him to resign. The first act will be to require him to reside 
near the college. I should think it a great misfortune to the college 
if he were to leave. I would not have resigned if we could have re- 
tained force enough to sustain the President." Mr. Gardiner's res- 
ignation was not submitted, and he acquiesced; but, though willing 
to make concessions, he was not ready to yield absolutely. 

In 1858 he wrote to Daveis that he was willing that a seat in the 
Trustees left vacant by the death of a Congregational minister of 
rather old-fashioned views should be filled by the election of a mod- 
erate Congregationalist, but that the next vacancy must be supplied 
by a non-Congregationalist. He said that he did not ask for the 
election of one of his own church, that he was willing that the new 
Trustee should be a Unitarian or a Methodist, which certainly gave 
wide liberty of choice. In 1859 he wrote: "The President is quite 
encouraged by what has been said to him by Judge Shepley and Mr. 
Bradbury of the over-bearing spirit of some of their ecclesiastical 
friends ; but till I see them willing to vote for a trustee of a liberal 
spirit, which I do not expect, their dissatisfaction with some of their 
associates will be of no practical importance. I intend to go to 
Augusta next week and meet Evans and Williams and talk the mat- 
ter over. I should like to make a list of say six gentlemen of high 
standing in the community, neither of whom should be an orthodox 
Congregationalist, and send down their names in succession, and if 
the overseers rejected them all then resign in a body. What say you 
to this ?" 

No such drastic measures were tried ; but in 1860 President Woods 
submitted Mr. Gardiner's resignation, the liberals making what 
might be called a surrender on terms. The President explained his 
action in a letter to Daveis. He said that at the annual meeting of 
the Trustees Judge Shepley, "who appears as prime minister," had 
in explicit terms declared that his object was only to get such a ma- 
jority as would secure the denominational character of the College, 
and then to return and keep supplied a strong and efficient minority 
from other denominations. Judge Weston stated that it was unlikely 



PRESIDENT WOODS 115 

that the older members such as Gardiner, Daveis and himself 11 would 
be able to attend meetings constantly, and that this would render 
it very difficult to obtain the legal quorum of nine. Under these cir- 
cumstances President Woods decided to present Gardiner's resigna- 
tion, which was accepted in a resolution complimenting his services. 

A successful attempt was also made to apply a theological test in 
the choice of professors. In 1853 the Boards showed their liberality 
by electing a Unitarian, C. C. Everett, Tutor, and two years later 
Professor of Modern Languages; but in 1857, when the Trustees 
reelected him for three years, the Overseers vetoed the choice and also 
non-concurred in his election, first for two years, and then for one. 

President Woods had met with defeat, though not an absolutely 
decisive one, in his fight against denominationalism ; but he was justi- 
fied by time. Politically he was also on the losing side. Cultured, 
high-minded, averse to violent measures, he would not declare war on 
slavery, and when war which he so hated seemed at hand, he would have 
let the erring sisters depart in peace. In its earlier days the college 
had been opposed to the party in power and even to war in which 
the country was engaged. At the beginning of the century Bowdoin 
had been Federalist and during the war of 1812 President Appleton 
was said to have visited Castine when held by the British and was 
called on to explain what he did there. Later the college took a 
neutral stand. Reference has already been made to the forbidding 
a student to declaim an extract from Webster's Reply to Hayne. 
In 1840 some of the students formed a Tippecanoe Club and pro- 
posed to march under a Harrison banner in a Whig parade at Port- 
land. But Maine was Democratic, the prudent Faculty interfered, 
the banner was presented to another organization and the students 
who marched did so as citizens of Brunswick. 

In 1852 a number of the students formed a "Granite Club" to 
further the election of Franklin Pierce as President. They ar- 
ranged a great rally at Augusta, with speakers of national reputa- 
tion, but the meeting was opened by a speech from a Bowdoin jun- 
ior, Melville Weston Fuller, nephew of a prominent Democratic 

11 Gardiner and Weston were each seventy-eight, and Daveis seventy-two years 
of age. 



116 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

politician, Benjamin Apthorp Gould, or as he was frequently called, 
"Bag" Fuller. Many persons, however, considered the action of 
the students decidedly improper. The Visiting Committee said in 
its annual report: "Your committee regret to learn the existence 
of political clubs in college. Party spirit and party faction tho 
necessary concomitants of free institutions are still acknowledged 
to be great evils and however unavoidable in real life when immense 
patronage is in the command of persons elected for short periods by 
universal suffrage, yet, as they engender variance and ill will and 
seriously interfere with the appropriate duties of the college, they 
should be studiously kept from Academic shades, for the muses can 
never be found amid the din of party strife. The thanks of the col- 
lege are due to Genl Pierce, one of the candidates, for his decided 
expression of disapprobation of their meetings although they were 
designed for his especial honor. Your committee trust that the col- 
lege government will show their disapprobation of such meetings and 
hereafter take such early measures as may prevent their recurrence." 
In 1860 three political clubs were formed. The membership indi- 
cates that one hundred and thirty-five of the students supported 
Lincoln, thirty Douglas, and seven Breckenridge. The students 
represented the younger element, the Boards the older, had the lat- 
ter been polled, probably the conservatives would have made a better 
showing. Indeed, two years before, the Trustees and Overseers had 
acted in a manner that, a little later, would have been actually 
traitorous. They gave an LL.D. to Jefferson Davis. In 1858 
Mr. Davis was suffering from ill health, many Southerners had sum- 
mer residences in or near Portland and he visited the city in the 
hope of recovering his strength. He was cordially received, and, 
on his part, made Union-loving and fraternal speeches, although, to 
his credit be it said, he did not conceal his views on secession and 
slavery. Commencement occurred during his visit, and Mr. Davis 
attended. The Boards were in an embarrassing position. Mr. 
Davis was the Southern leader in the United States Senate, and his 
principles were diametrically opposed to those of the majority of 
the people of Maine ; but when a man of his ability and prominence, 
from a distant state, was present at Commencement, it would have 







ti 



£5 



PRESIDENT WOODS 117 

been almost a personal insult not to give him a degree. The Boards 
did so, but showed that when speaking officially they knew no poli- 
tics, by also giving an LL.D. to the anti-slavery and Republican 
Senator, William Pitt Fessenden. Later, the honor conferred on 
Davis brought embarrassment and mortification to Bowdoin. The 
Bugle of July, 1861, indeed, treated the matter as a joke. It said 
of the Bowdoin men in the army : "If they hear of a stray LL.D. in 
their Southern rambles, it will devolve upon them, as sons of our be- 
loved institution, to speedily secure him, and send him to Maine, — 
Bowdoin has a little account to settle with him." Others took the 
matter more seriously. In an encounter of the Bowdoin Orient with 
the Bates Student, the latter twitted Bowdoin with having given a 
degree to the Hon. Jefferson Davis and suggested that Bowdoin re- 
plenish her treasury by applying to her "Doctor" for a donation of 
Confederate postage stamps. In the seventies there was some like- 
lihood of Bowdoin seeking financial assistance from the state. The 
Bangor Whig fy Courier, which was strongly Republican and anti- 
Southern, declared with much vehemence that no aid ought to be 
given unless the degree were withdrawn. It is said that the Boards 
did, at one time, consider such action, but decided that when the 
degree was conferred Mr. Davis was a fitting man to receive it and 
that his later conduct had no bearing on the matter, a doctorate 
was given for life. 

When the war came Bowdoin men rallied to the flag. Several of 
the Seniors enlisted, and one, the orator of the class, George E. Ken- 
niston of Boothbay, was wounded and captured at Bull Run, and 
spent Commencement day in a rebel prison. But the immediate ef- 
fect of the war on the college was not as great as was that of the 
World War. In 1861 Professor Upham reported an increased in- 
terest in the subject of International Law, and Professor Packard, 
while commending his classes for general attention to their work, 
said that the excitement caused by recent events had somewhat inter- 
fered with the preparation for the final examination. President 
Woods, in his report for 1862, said: "The disturbed state of the 
country during the past year, while not without its influence, has 
been less disastrous to the interests of the college than might have 



118 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

been feared. The proportion of those who have left their studies 
here, to devote themselves to the military service of the country is 
less than in many of our colleges." Such a statement is not pleas- 
ant reading for a Bowdoin man, but perhaps the pacifist president 
is not a wholly reliable authority on this subject. At least the sons 
of Bowdoin, as a whole, did their full duty. Two hundred and 
ninety of them were in the Union service during the war, more, in 
proportion to the number of graduates and undergraduates, than 
from any other college in the land. 

No attempt will be made to narrate their achievements. This 
book is a history of the college, not of its alumni. Here, Bowdoin 
and the Civil War means the effect of the Civil War on the life of 
the students, and for this subject the material is extremely scanty. 
The Bugle of November, 1861, describes conditions at the college 
and it is believed that the soldiers of the World War will recognize 
the picture. The Bugle says : "Already have the demands of the 
time badly broken in upon the quiet routine of Student life, and our 
classmates are one by one doffing the mantle and girding on the 
sword, as they go forth to mingle in the great conflict. Nor is the 
thinning of our ranks the only effect the war is having upon us. 

"The ties which bind us to college scenes are becoming weaker day 
by day as we grow more and more familiar with the idea of leaving 
them. As the memories of his classmates already in the field rise 
before him, the student almost unconsciously finds himself dreaming 
of 'doughty feats of arms,' and deeds of high emprise and a feeling 
of unrest gradually creeps over him — a distaste for the monoto- 
nous round of daily study, for Greek roots and mathematical for- 
mulas — a longing for a life of novelty and adventure — and above 
all the earnest desire to bear some part in the great struggle for all 
that he has been taught to love and revere." 

The war furnished material for eloquence at student "exhibitions" 
and at Commencement dinners. At the exhibition of April, 1862, 
two of the parts dealt directly with the events of the day and an 
allusion to "Honest Abe" in an oration on Warren Hastings brought 
down the house. The graduating ode of the class contained the 
verse : 



PRESIDENT WOODS 119 

Mourn we those whose work is done 

Falling ere the race be run, 

Sinking ere the goal was won, 
Ours in memory. 
The Brunswick Telegraph stated that at the Commencement din- 
ner "The speeches all took a war turn as was to be expected . . . 
There was any amount of enthusiasm manifested by the large num- 
ber present in the Hall." 

The students showed their patriotism in other ways than words. 
On May 10, 1861, they organized a company, called the Bowdoin 
Guard, for practice in drill. The commander was Joseph Noble of 
Augusta, and among the sergeants were Samuel Fessenden, a son of 
the Senator, and Enoch Foster, later a judge of the Maine Supreme 
Court. The first instructor was a militia major, Dr. Cyrus King 
of Brunswick, a son of Governor King, but he was soon succeeded 
bv Charles A. Curtis. Mr. Curtis was a Maine boy with many ac- 
quaintances at Bowdoin. He had hoped to enter the college but 
circumstances had caused him to go to the military college at Nor- 
wich, Vermont, where he was then a Senior. During the spring va- 
cation he helped drill volunteers in the Kennebec valley and while 
doing so received an invitation to act as military instructor at Bow- 
doin and accepted the call on condition that he might attend Senior 
recitations and lectures. The students had no uniforms but they 
were furnished with guns and ammunition by the government, and 
except for one boyish prank, they showed themselves faithful in the 
discharge of their duties. 12 

On June 18, 1861, a second company, the Bowdoin Zouaves, was 
organized. It was commanded by Captain Upham, a Bath boy, 
and drilled by Thomas Worcester Hyde, also of Bath, for whom the 
Athletic Building is named. Mr. Hyde entered Bowdoin with the 
class of '61, but at the close of his Junior year he was induced by 
Hon. J. Young Scamman of Chicago, a former Bath man, to be- 
come one of the three members of the first Senior class at Chicago 
University. Mr. Hyde was an ardent Republican and when Elmer 

12 See some recollections by Mr. Curtis in Minot and Snow's Tales of Boxcdoin. 
pp. 261-272. 



120 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

E. Ellsworth, the commander of the highly trained Fire Zouaves, 
raised a Zouave regiment Hyde enlisted with them as a private. 
But when his company failed to be sent to the front with the first 
detachment, he enlisted in the Yates Phalanx, which was to be com- 
manded by Owen Love joy, a native of Maine. But now Maine made 
a stronger call. The future General Hyde, in his very interesting 
little book, Following the Greek Cross, 13 thus explains and describes 
his transition from west to east : ". . . hearing of the departure of 
the 3rd Maine which contained two Bath companies and many of my 
friends and schoolmates to the seat of war, and as the college au- 
thorities permitted me to take my degree, I concluded not to wait 
for Commencement, but to go home and join some Maine regiment. 

"On arriving home ... I found a lull in the war fever, and a 
general opinion that it was to be a short affair. After some weeks 
at Bowdoin College, where I taught the students the Zouave drill 
and directed as skirmishers many future generals and colonels down 
Maine St. to capture the Topsham bridge, I went home for the 
last vacation, sadly feeling that my chance would never come." 

In July Bowdoin closed for a short vacation; Curtis and Hyde 
both went to the front, and apparently when the college opened 
military drill was not resumed, but the Bugle of July, 1862, an- 
nounced that "the military spirit continues to rage with us, and the 
Bowdoin Guards arousing from their slumber of the winter months 
have sprung to their arms with renewed vigor." The company con- 
sisted of seventy-five men and was commanded by C. P. Mattocks. 

It is a characteristic of young men, particularly college men, to 
laugh in public at what in their hearts they respect ; and the Bugle 
of July, 1862, paid its compliments to the Bowdoin Home Guard in 
true Bugle fashion. It said : "The promptitude with which the most 
difficult maneuvers are performed, especially the 'march in retreat,' 
the alacrity and precision with which they 'break ranks,' and their 
unapproachable style of executing the newly introduced movement 
of the 'Skeedaddle,' cannot be too highly praised." 

Then, changing this mockery to a seriousness befitting the sub- 

13 The Greek Cross was the badge of the Sixth Corps, in which General Hyde 
served. 



PRESIDENT WOODS 121 

ject, the editor continued: "Our space will not let us give a detailed 
account of the past history of the Guards but let it suffice that un- 
like most Home Guards, they have sent a large proportion of their 
numbers into actual service, every one of whom has distinguished 
himself by his soldierly bearing. It will be one of the proudest mem- 
ories of our life that we were a private in their ranks." 

The graduation of the class of 1862 gave another and fatal blow 
to military training at Bowdoin, and as the war became an accus- 
tomed thing it may be that the students gave more thought to their 
academic duties. The Visiting Committee of 1863 reported that 
the year would compare favorably with others in respect to the dili- 
gence and progress of the undergraduates, but they added: "The 
calls of the country, and the agitations of the times, have had the 
effect to diminish the number of the students very sensibly. 

"Many, there is reason to believe, have been prevented from en- 
tering and some have left the College during the year for the pat- 
riotic purpose of 'sustaining the Constitution and the Union, and 
preserving a government of laws' . . . " 14 

The Committee said that two years previously there were one 
hundred and forty-four students in the college, that the number had 
fallen to one hundred and twenty-eight and that "The same causes 
are still in operation, and these, with the erection of the Seminary 
at Lewiston into a college, will most probably reduce the number of 
students to a hundred." 

For two years longer the drain continued, then it was at least 
checked by the triumphant close of the great contest, which is thus 
noted in the Faculty Records : "This Exhibition [that of the spring 
of 1865, the speakers at which had been duly appointed] was omit- 
ted, the College Term having been brought to a close a week before 
the usual time, by the NEWS [written in large letters] of the day." 
Then follows in a different hand "the News being of the surrender 
of Gen. Lee." 

The Commencement of 1865 was made memorable by a reception 
to the sons of Bowdoin who had taken part in the war and by the 

14 This vigorous endorsement of the war was written by a Democrat, ex-Sena- 
tor J. W. Bradbury, of the class of 1825. The Chairmen of the Committee of 
1861 and 1862 had not clearly approved the war, in their reports. 



122 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

presence of General Grant. The Boards appropriated seventy-five 
dollars for lighting and decorating the Congregationalist church 
where the exercises and the reception were held. The manner in 
which this was done called forth the highest praise. The Telegraph. 
said: "It was the universal remark that the Congregational church 
was never so elegantly and tastefully decorated before. This cer- 
tainly is our opinion. The display of bunting may not have been 
so elaborate or so profuse as upon some previous years, this was an 
improvement, for there was nothing gaudy, nothing offensive, noth- 
ing even in questionable taste. Flags, bunting, and red, white and 
blue streamers formed the decorations. At Commencement day the 
figures 65 were hung suspended over the pulpit and over the clock 
was hung a shield wreathed in mourning with the names of three 
members of the class who had been killed or had died in service in- 
scribed on it." 

At the Commencement exercises, when the undergraduate speak- 
ing had been concluded, word was brought of the arrival of the train 
from Portland bearing General Grant and party ; and graduates and 
undergraduates marched to the station to welcome him and escort 
him to the church. Both at the station and the church the General 
was received with the greatest enthusiasm and the applause again 
broke forth when President Woods announced that the Boards had 
conferred the degree of LL.D. on Ulysses S. Grant. 

At the conclusion of the exercises the alumni adjourned to the din- 
ing hall and "addressed themselves to probably the meanest repast 
ever placed before festive mortals, and the Alumni were the more 
chagrined at this because General Grant, Senator Wilson and other 
distinguished personages were present." 

After the scanty fare was disposed of the usual hymn was sung 
and Rev. Dr. Harris returned thanks. 

General Chamberlain responded briefly to an enthusiastic call. 
He said : "I have tried to get Gen. Grant to speak, but he says 'no,' 
and when he says that word he means it. Lee knows it means some- 
thing." [Here Gen. Grant, amid cheers, parenthetically said: "I 
continue to fight it out on that line." One of his few speeches, of 
which we are happy to get a verbatim report.] 



PRESIDENT WOODS 123 

Hon. Peleg W. Chandler gave President Woods a touch on his 
single blessedness, and called on the college to wipe off Jeff Davis 
and his LL.D. from the college record and suggested if a certain 
event should take place Jeff's LL.D. would be ludicrous, 15 adding 
that a sufficient reason for such erasure might be found in the fact 
that Davis had lately changed his sex. [Referring to Davis being 
captured in his wife's waterproof and a shawl. The northern press 
gave exaggerated reports of what Davis was wearing and the facts 
and circumstances of his unfortunate attire are still matters of dis- 
pute.] General Grant unlocked his stern features and let in a 
smile, nay a broad grin, during Mr. Chandler's humorous remarks. 
The General seemed much entertained during the dinner speeches. 

"At eight o'clock Wednesday evening the Congregational Church 
was again crammed to welcome the sons of Bowdoin who have been 
in the War, and large numbers of the bronzed heroes were on the 
platform, and more would have been there had not all pervading 
crinoline reached even the seats on the stage set apart for them." 

The suppression of the rebellion made the anti-coercionists more 
unpopular than ever in Maine; President Woods feared that for 
this reason he might be less successful in the fight against a denomi- 
nationalization of Bowdoin, than would another President, whose 
"patriotism" could not be impugned. He had, moreover, nearly 
reached the age at which he had intended to resign, there were indi- 
cations that his health required him to avoid constant mental strain, 
and in 1866 he offered his resignation to the Boards. It was ac- 
cepted with high praise of his work as President. Part of this was 
mere conventionality, but Professor Little says, in his Historical 
Sketch, that the sharpest critics of the President's actions "more 
frequently of his inaction — willingly paid him their heartiest re- 
spects as a cultured gentleman and a profound scholar." The 
Bugle quoted the resolutions of the Boards, and said that "the Presi- 
dent took with him the respect and good wishes of the students," 
and at the Commencement dinner, "the alumni greeted with hearty 
applause the announcement that Bowdoin had conferred on Leonard 
Woods the degree of LL.D." The ex-President's own bearing, in 

15 Another account states that Mr. Chandler said that the LL.D. would signify 
Long Let him Dangle. 



124 THE HISTORY OF BOVDOIN COLLEGE 

his retirement, was most admirable. He attended college functions, 
and not only refrained from criticising his successors and their as- 
sociates, but, though naturally averse to controversy, defended them 
when they were attacked. 

Dr. Woods, from his first coming to Maine, had been much inter- 
ested in the history of the state ; and in 1867 he went to Europe with 
a commission from the governor making him its agent for collecting 
historical material. He had, also, recommendations from the De- 
partment of State and from eminent American historians. He found 
various manuscripts and forgotten books and pamphlets, "but his 
great discovery was that of Hakluyt's Discourse on Western Plant- 
ing, the manuscript of which had been lost to the world for three 
hundred years, until discovered by the rare address and persistent 
efforts of Dr. Woods, in a private collection, and of which he was 
fortunate enough to secure a copy." He returned with this and 
other papers, had begun to publish them and was preparing a life 
of his father and an account of Andover Seminary when a fire in the 
house in Brunswick where he made his home destroyed most of his 
library and manuscripts. Fortunately the "Hakluyt" was else- 
where. Dr. Woods had always lived much in the past, now at the 
age of sixty-seven the material connection with his own past was 
almost wholly broken, the books and papers by means of which he 
hoped to spend the evening of his life in a happy and useful manner, 
and leave to the world evidence that he had not been unmindful of 
the duty of the scholar and the artist in words, to produce, were 
swept away in an instant. The blow was more than he could bear. 
In 1875 he was stricken with paralysis, other shocks followed and 
on December 24, 1878, he died. The Bowdoin Faculty passed 
highly complimentary resolutions in his honor and on July 9, 1879, 
Charles Carrol Everett delivered before a joint meeting of the Bow- 
doin Alumni and the Maine Historical Society an address on Leon- 
ard Woods, in which he gave a full account of the life and an able 
and accurate analysis of the character and work of the great Presi- 
dent, who achieved so much but, who perhaps, might have accom- 
plished more. 




President Harris 
President Hyde 



President Chamberlain 
President Sills 



CHAPTER V 

THE ADMINISTRATIONS OF PRESIDENTS HARRIS 
AND CHAMBERLAIN 



ON President Woods's resignation the Trustees elected as his suc- 
cessor, one of their own number, then present, Professor Sam- 
uel Harris, D.D., of the Bangor Theological Seminary. But he im- 
mediately declined the honor, and the vote was not sent to the Over- 
seers. A joint committee was then appointed to endeavor to find 
some other gentleman with qualifications equal to those of Professor 
Harris. In November a special meeting of the Boards was held, 
and the committee reported that it had made careful inquiry, but 
that it could find no one who was available, who united the various 
qualities needed for the position, and who would be acceptable to the 
different sections of the alumni except Professor Harris. Dr. Har- 
ris was elected again and this time accepted the call. 

Samuel Harris was born at East Machias on June 14, 1814. At 
the age of fifteen he entered Bowdoin with the class of 1833. In his 
Sophomore year he was "converted," and thenceforth took an active 
part in the religious life of the college. After graduation he taught 
two years, went through Andover Seminary, preached for ten years 
at Conway, Massachusetts, and for four years at Pittsfield in the 
same state. In 1855 he was appointed Professor of Systematic 
Theology in Bangor Theological Seminary, and discharged the 
duties of that position with eminent success until his call to Bow- 
doin. In most respects the new President was remarkably well 
qualified for his office. Writing of Dr. Harris, after the conclusion 
of his short Presidency, Professor Packard said: "Of singular sim- 
plicity and sincerity of character and manners, with entire absence 
of the arts of vanity and self-assertion, he is distinguished for broad 



126 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

culture and wide range of thought, and for the clearness, power and 
frequent beauty of his writings. He has admirable power of illus- 
tration, possesses uncommon excellence in extemporaneous speech, 
a gift which he was led to cultivate at an early period of his ministry 
in consequence of weakness of the eyes, his efforts in this way being 
as marked by thorough discussion and depth of thought as in any 
of his more formal written discourses." 

Dr. Harris had made it a condition of his acceptance of the call 
to Bowdoin that he be allowed to remain at Bangor a few months, 
but in May, 1867, he came to Brunswick and began his work, and 
at the ensuing Commencement he was formally inducted into office. 

The new President took for the subject of his inaugural address 
the needs and the functions of a college. In eloquent language he 
proclaimed its chief mission to be the broadening and training of the 
mind, and, with this but subordinate to it, the imparting of knowl- 
edge. With much force, and beauty of phrase, he controverted the 
arguments of those who would supplant the college by the profes- 
sional, or by the industrial, school. Like his predecessor, twenty- 
eight years before, he discussed the ever-recurring question of the 
place of science in a college of liberal arts. More broad-minded, in 
this respect, than President Woods, he acknowledged the right of 
science to fuller recognition ; but he did this, chiefly, on the very 
principles which justified the existence of colleges of the older type. 
Frankly, and with a certain irony, he repelled the claims of science 
to dominate and even monopolize the curriculum ; and pointed out 
that the reasoning of the scientists of the day was, often, most un- 
scientific. 

To some enthusiasts the President's views of the true objects and 
aims of a college education may have seemed deplorably old-fash- 
ioned, but even they must have acknowledged that, in his methods, 
he was modern and liberal. Dr. Harris had been chosen Professor 
of Mental and Moral Philosophy, as well as President ; and in his 
report of 1870 he described his manner of conducting a recitation, 
and his conception of its purpose, and showed that he had emanci- 
pated himself from the bondage of the old custom which degraded a 
professor into a ranking machine. He said : "The instructor in this 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 127 

department does not consider the great object of a recitation to 
find out what a student knows, but in addition to that, to bring out 
the great subject of the lesson, to master the whole topic, to add in- 
formation and illustration, and to draw the students out and train 
through investigation and clear and self-reliant thinking. To this 
end he encourages the asking of questions by any member of the 
class on any point which may at the moment be up, and makes every 
recitation quite as much an impartation of knowledge, guidance and 
quickening to the class, as an ascertaining of what they know. When 
any topic needs it, he occupies a whole hour with a lecture ; and in 
some cases, when the treatment of a topic in the text book is not 
satisfactory, throws the text book aside and treats an entire topic 
by lectures, and daily examinations thereon." 

President Harris was no extremist, either in education or theol- 
ogy, but a fine example of the conservative liberal. If his conserv- 
atism was ever carried to excess, it was in matters of discipline. He 
had been a college friend of Cyrus Hamlin, he was a man of scholar- 
ly and refined taste, and he could not regard hazing as an ebullition 
of youthful spirits, unfortunate but not unpardonable. To him it 
was sheer illegality and outrage, and he was determined to put it 
down. But the times were not propitious. Edward C. Plummer, of 
the class of 1887, says in his contribution to Minot and Snow's 
Tales of Bowdoin : "The present Faculty of Bowdoin will cautiously 
admit, what some of their former associates have at times so em- 
phatically stated, that the late 'sixties and early 'seventies were 
years which brought to this famous institution the most nerve-trying 
students that ever sought intellectual development in the quiet town 
of Brunswick." But when President Harris was inaugurated con- 
ditions appeared to be reasonably satisfactory. The Visiting Com- 
mittee reported, on the authority of the Faculty, that "The dis- 
reputable and unmanly practice of hazing Freshmen has been 
checked and it is believed that it will not again be revived." Presi- 
dent Harris had less faith, though abundance of resolution. Time 
proved him right. In the following autumn the Sophomores re- 
newed the "unmanly practice," and seventeen of them were suspend- 
ed, but with a promise of pardon to all who would come to the Presi- 



128 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

dent and pledge their word of honor to entirely abstain from hazing 
in the future. The two upper classes passed strong resolutions 
against hazing, and, one by one, the guilty Sophomores made the 
required submission. The President told the Visiting Committee 
that hazing had received its death blow, or that, if it should again 
occur, it could be dealt with. It occurred in 1870 when Phi Chi, 1 
a Sophomore hazing society, assisted by Juniors, stormed a room 
where the stronger members of the Freshman class had assembled to 
protect two of their number. Clubs were freely used, several men 
were knocked senseless, the cry arose that one of them was killed 
and the fight stopped. But later in the night one at least of the 
Freshmen originally sought was taken out and pumped. Many ex- 
pulsions and suspensions followed, and among the victims of Faculty 
wrath was E. P. Mitchell, '71, co-founder of the Orient, author of 
the hazing song, Phi Chi, and in after years editor of the New York 
Sun. Mr. Mitchell says in his Autobiography of a Journalist that 
at the time of his suspension he was so overwhelmed with shame, that 
suicide seemed the only way of escape. 

There was much bitterness of feeling among those who had been 
expelled, but the college authorities stood firm. The Visiting Com- 
mittee reported that it had carefully investigated the affair, but 
that none of those who had been punished, or any of their friends,, 
"sought any communication with the Committee." After obtaining 
all the information possible the Committee approved the action of 
the Faculty, who, they said, had tried persuasion first, and when 
discipline was necessary had administered it with wisdom. In the 
opinion of the Committee forbearance on the part of the college 
Faculty encouraged hazing by giving a hope of escape from punish- 
ment. The Committee acknowledged that, "when penalties are in- 
flicted for an offense perpetrated in secret by a number of persons, 
it almost always happens that some as guilty as any, escape detec- 
tion ;" but it added : 

"Generally, however, such as do not escape have the power, if they 

1 Many years later the leader of the Sophomores, when running for Mayor of 
Maiden, Massachusetts, had his suspension brought up against him. He appealed 
to the Faculty; one of them stated that the affair was merely a college escapade, 
and the ex-Phi Chi man won the election. 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 129 

will, to show they are not guilty above others. If, whether gen- 
erously or servilely, they refuse to do this, and if, while suffering 
beyond others guilty as themselves, they are not suffering at all, 
what full justice would require, let them not complain of the dis- 
cipline. Nor, if they do complain should there be affright or de- 
spondence [upon the part of the authorities]." 

It should be remembered, however, that hazing may not be wholly 
the fault of the Sophomores. The Freshmen are at times extremely 
cocky, and even resort to deliberately provocative measures ; and 
sometimes they have been punished by the Faculty for their conduct. 

The Faculty Records of October 1, 1866, have this entry: "The 
Freshman class having without provocation by the Sophomores held 
the carnival entertainment known as the 'Peanut Drunk,' which is 
understood to be a challenge to the Sophomores, and which offers 
opportunity, and provocation for disorderly conduct, tending also 
to perpetuate the custom of 'hazing,' the Presiding officer 2 informed 
the Freshman class that no leaves of absence would be granted the 
class until the affair had been properly noticed. This action was 
afterward confirmed by the Government." 

F. W. Hawthorne, whose alleged un-Freshmanlike conduct caused 
the affair of 1870 was disciplined by the Faculty for making and 
burning the effigy of a Sophomore. 

Dr. Harris served as President of Bowdoin for only four years. 
The executive duties of the office made heavy demands on his time 
and strength; Bowdoin needed a President who was not only a ripe 
scholar but a successful beggar, and Dr. Harris doubted his own 
abilities in this line. In 1871 Yale offered him a professorship in 
Systematic Theology, a position particularly suited to his taste and 
talents and the President accepted the call. He occupied the chair 
for twenty-four years and then resigned. He lived four years long- 
er, dying on June 25, 1899, just after reaching his eighty-fifth 
birthday. 

After accepting the resignation of President Harris the Trustees 
at once and unanimously chose as his successor one of their own 
number, ex-Professor and ex-Governor Chamberlain, who was then 

2 Professor Chamberlain had been chosen to perform the executive duties of 
the presidency, there being a vacancy in that office. 



130 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

presiding over a meeting of the Alumni Association. The Overseers 
promptly ratified the choice, a committee then publicly reported 
the election to General Chamberlain and the announcement was re- 
ceived with applause. 

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was born on September 8, 1828, at 
Brewer, Maine. President Hyde said in an address delivered shortly 
after his predecessor's death: "General Chamberlain was the son of 
an Anglo-Saxon soldier-father and a mother with French blood in 
her veins and the Huguenot faith in her heart. His nature was a 
happy union of English strength and French grace, of military 
valor and Christian idealism, traits which came out in each of the 
three great careers he drove abreast — scholar, statesman and sol- 
dier. His education was divided between these two tendencies. At 
fourteen his soldier-father, ambitious to make a soldier of his son, 
sent him to a military school. At twenty-four, after graduating 
from Bowdoin, his mother drew him to Bangor Seminary, where he 
spent three years in preparation for the Christian ministry." But 
instead of preaching he returned to Bowdoin where he was highly 
successful as a teacher. In 1862 he entered the United States Army. 
He rose from the rank of Lieutenant Colonel to Brevet Major Gen- 
eral and the command of a division. He highly distinguished himself 
at Gettysburg and Petersburg, was promoted, not simply recom- 
mended for promotion, by General Grant ; and did excellent work in 
the pursuit of Lee's army after the fall of Richmond and commanded 
the troops before whom it filed out and laid down its arms. In 1866 
General Chamberlain was elected Governor of Maine and was re- 
elected for three successive years. Although a hard fighting soldier, 
in politics, both state and national, he showed conservatism and 
moderation when many of the leaders of his party favored extreme 
measures. 

In an able, eloquent and friendly delineation of his character 
President Hyde said : 

"In all our words and deeds there are two elements ; the element of 
fact given by the world outside, and the element of imagination con- 
tributed from the mind within. The great difference between men is 
in the proportion in which these two elements are combined. In most 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 131 

of us the element of outward fact predominates. We are plain, 
prosaic, giving back but a slightly altered reflection of the presented 
facts. We run little risk of error or inconsistency; but we do no 
great deeds, we win and deserve no fame. In the rare man, the hero 
and leader, the child of genius and the heir of fame, imagination col- 
ors fact with a light that never was on sea or land, and reflects it 
back transformed into words that cannot be forgotten, and deeds 
the world will not willingly let die. To the microscopic matter of 
fact critic of detail, much that such a man says and does seems ex- 
aggerated, disproportioned ; and is mistaken for inconsistency or 
even insincerity. Whoever whether as patriot or Christian dares 
to plant his standard far in advance of present and sustained 
achievement, runs the risk of such misinterpretation. General Cham- 
berlain never hauled down his flag to the low level of what he or any 
man could easily do or habitually be. In every great crisis his 
idealism not only held him true ; but became a contagious inspira- 
tion to lesser men." 

In his first annual report President Chamberlain, who was an opti- 
mistic, perhaps one might say a visionary man, gave a most encourag- 
ing account of the internal condition of the college. He had adopted 
modern methods of discipline, and apparently with success. He told 
the Boards that "In establishing my relations with the students I 
made them see and understand that I should deal with them as gentle- 
men, that I should hold a man's word of honor as better than foreign 
testimony, that I should allow neither spy nor suspicion to hold any 
place between me and them, and that I should not abandon my con- 
fidence in them until they were false to themselves. But where a man 
dealt untruthfully, I regarded him as rotten at heart and good for 
nothing. 

"I have found little less than the most perfect frankness and honor 
among these young men throughout the year." But the next year 
there were disorders, and in the ensuing investigations the partici- 
pants showed a decided lack of frankness and a distorted sense of 
honor. The Faculty records of 1873 state that Pingree, a Freshman, 
was assaulted as he was returning from a meeting of the Athenaean 
Society, and that various indignities were offered him. Finally, he 



132 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

was bound and left on the doorstep of Professor White's house. 
Four of the men engaged in the affair were discovered. All were 
dismissed from college ; one for this offense and bad conduct on other 
occasions, three for the assault on Pingree and prevarication when 
examined concerning it. Two applied for an official certificate of 
dismissal in order that they might enter Dartmouth, and received, 
say the Faculty records, "a paper stating the facts." (Italics in the 
original.) 

Another case of discipline, though affecting only two students, 
seems to have caused greater difficulty. One evening Instructor 
Moore, the Tutor Moore of Phi Chi, and Tutor Moulton went to 
Appleton Hall to quell a disturbance which Sophomores were mak- 
ing, and had water thrown upon them when leaving the building. 3 
Two Juniors, X and Y, confessed their guilt ; X was dismissed, and 
Y, "who had prevaricated in his examination and afterward stated 
that it was his deliberate intention to give false testimony if necessary 
to shield others from discovery," was expelled. A little later the 
Faculty modified their action. They voted that as X's dismissal 
would not effect the object intended, and because of his frank and 
manly bearing after he was summoned before the Faculty, and as he 
had given a promise of future good behavior, he should be re- 
admitted to Bowdoin. Great efforts were made in behalf of Y. His 
case was discussed at several meetings of the Faculty. His friends 
petitioned, and a committee of the Trustees advised a commutation 
of the sentence; but, say the Faculty records, "It was resolved to 
adhere to the original action. The case had become complicated by 
injudicious expression of opinion and improper attempts to influence 
the action of the Faculty." Later, on receiving a letter from an 
Overseer, who was presumably a relative of the culprit, the Faculty 
voted that they withdrew all objections to the young man's entering 
Dartmouth after the close of the Spring term. 

The year 1874 was made noteworthy by the great "Drill Rebel- 
lion," the chief student rebellion in the history of Bowdoin. The 
Civil War, like the World War, and to a less degree others in which 

3 Mr. Moulton told the author that the offense was really a trifling one, that in 
the dark he and Mr. Moore were not recognized. 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 133 

the United States has been engaged, caused a demand that its soldiers 
should have learned how to fight before the fighting began. Colleges 
were thought to be particularly suitable places for military exercises 
because their population consisted chiefly of men who were young and 
who, it was supposed, could train without interfering with their other 
occupations. Accordingly, the National government furnished arms 
and sent an officer as an instructor to colleges whose students had 
formed at least one military company of the required size. The fact 
that the President of Bowdoin was an experienced and distinguished 
soldier made training at that college peculiarly appropriate. On 
the other hand, American youth, like Americans in general, resent 
being ordered about and treated as inferiors, and the people as a 
whole have a strong dislike of militarism. These counteracting 
forces explain both the introduction and the failure of drill at 
Bowdoin. 

President Chamberlain was a firm believer in students taking military 
exercises, though more for their effect on physique and character 
than because of the technical knowledge acquired. He, therefore, 
applied to the War Department to send an officer to Bowdoin. The 
Department not only consented but allowed General Chamberlain to 
make his own selection from the officers available. He chose Major 
Joseph P. Sanger, and in January, 1872, that gentleman arrived in 
Brunswick. A member of the class of 1875, writing a quarter of a 
century later, said of him: "He was a diminutive man physically, 
but mentally he was clear and strong and a finely equipped officer. 
The boys all liked him and he displayed great tact and kindness in 
his treatment of them. He carried himself splendidly, and when in 
full uniform one forgot that he was not a six-footer." Major Sanger 
drew up plans for drilling, which, with some modifications recom- 
mended by the President, were accepted by the Faculty and were 
carried out as far as practicable. The Seniors were excused from 
drill, partly because the college year was far advanced; partly be- 
cause the cold and the deep snow prevented outdoor exercise, the 
available space under cover was limited, and it was not thought wise 
for the students to train in one body. On March 12 the Juniors 
began the recruit drill in the south wing of the chapel. Out of regard 



134 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

for previous arrangements it alternated with gymnasium work, and 
certain men who ranked as "experts" in the latter branch and were 
preparing for the annual exhibition were excused from military 
training. 

The new experiment began most successfully. Major Sanger re- 
ported that "The Juniors adapted themselves readily to the drill, and 
their soldierly deportment under arms at this time is attributable as 
much to the manly sentiment which pervades this class as to my ef- 
forts in developing this spirit. 

"As soon as the weather would permit the drill took place on the 
Campus, and May the 20th the Sophomore and Freshman classes 
were united, formed in squads and under instruction from the Junior 
class commenced the 'school of the soldier.' Some trouble was antici- 
pated when this combination took place, as it was feared that the 
hereditary pride of the Sophomores would rebel at any venture which, 
even for one moment, placed them on the same footing with the less 
experienced Freshmen. I have great pleasure in reporting that there 
has been but one instance of insubordination in this respect, and that 
the young gentleman concerned has since made the most ample though 
entirely unsolicited apology for his misconduct." 

On May 30 some of the Juniors and Sophomores began artillery 
drill, the state having lent to the college four of the cannon commonly 
called "Napoleons." On June 26 there was formed an infantry bat- 
talion of four companies made up of one hundred and eighty privates 
and non-commissioned officers and a proper proportion of commis- 
sioned officers. A uniform was worn like that in use at West Point, 
except for the omission of the dress hat, plume and sash. 

The boys took very kindly at first to their new clothes and new 
work ; and President Chamberlain told the Boards that the latter was 
"The kind of exercise particularly recommended by Plato, even in 
opposition to strictly athletic training as most suitable for young 
men." But there were many citizens of Maine who were not Platon- 
ists, and from the beginning there seems to have been opposition to 
the drill. Major Sanger, in his first report, evidently with the inten- 
tion of meeting a criticism that Bowdoin was being turned into a 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 135 

military school, followed a description of the uniform with the state- 
ment that it would be worn only when the students were on duty. 
The Orient said that there was dissatisfaction among the Seniors 
because so much time was spent in military training and made the 
comment that this might seem somewhat reasonable when it was con- 
sidered that the study of such books as Mahon's Outpost Duty had 
crowded mental and moral philosophy into two terms. The Orient 
said that it had been announced that the establishment of the military 
department was only an experiment, and expressed the hope that 
careful consideration would be given to the question whether it was 
advisable to make the drill a part of the course of Senior year. 
The students were encouraged in their opposition by outside influ- 
ence, and they appear to have believed that they had the personal 
sympathy of members of the Boards and of the Faculty. 

Major Sanger, however, maintained his position and he was firm- 
ly supported by the Visiting Committee, who entirely differed from 
the Orient in its opinion that Mars had encroached on territory be- 
longing to Minerva. It is said that the drill was giving to the soldier- 
student a courteous, gentlemanly bearing, and fitting him "for active 
contact with the world and for performing efficiently his part in it." 
The Committee urged the Boards to determine on a policy and to vig- 
orously support it ; and they alleged that "foreign interference" had 
prevented the experiment of military drill from having a fair trial. 
The Boards made no change of importance and the students began 
to take matters into their own hands. 

At the opening of the college year 1873-1874 an order was issued 
making the purchase of a uniform compulsory, which, apparently, 
it had not been before. The cost was less than that of the earlier 
uniform, only about five dollars and sixty cents, but the students 
were grievously offended. The Orient spoke most bitterly of the 
order and predicted that it would be "the beginning of the end." 

A special meeting of the Boards was called for November 19, 1873, 
and shortly before the date fixed each Trustee and Overseer received 
the following letter : 



136 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Bowdoin College, Nov. 12, 1873. 
Dear Sir:— 

At the approaching meeting of the Boards of Trustees and Over- 
seers, the students of Bowdoin will ask leave to present the following 
petition : 

We, the undersigned, Students of Bowdoin College, would respect- 
fully petition that the Military Department in this institution be 
abolished for the following reasons ; 

First. Injury to the institution from loss of students. 

Second. Abundant facilities for more popular and profitable exer- 
cises. 
Third. Expense incurred in purchasing otherwise useless equip- 
ment. 
Fourth. Loss of a large proportion of time otherwise devoted to 

study. 
Fifth. Its intense and growing unpopularity and other subordi- 

nate reasons. 
This is signed by 126 out of the 133 persons to whom it was sub- 
mitted — that is, by the three upper classes, with the exception of one 
senior, five juniors, and one sophomore. 

They will also ask leave to send a committee to the meeting, with 
this petition, for the purpose of more fully explaining just what is 
meant by its several propositions, and to give the reasons which have 
led to this extraordinary step. 

Our high respect to [sic] our military instructor, our belief that 
the Faculty, Trustees and Overseers have the best interests of Bow- 
doin at heart in this as in all other matters, and the supposition that 
previous knowledge of the petition will render them better prepared 
to discuss the subject, and to consider the earnest wishes of the pe- 
titioners, if so they shall choose to do, form our sole excuse for 
troubling you with this communication. 

Very respectfully, 

A. Y. Bradstreet "j 

M. W. Davis > Com 

C. B. Wheeler ) 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 137 

At the session of the Boards a committee was appointed to meet 
the student committee and a friendly conference was held, but before 
any action could be taken the Boards adjourned. In January they 
met again but left the petition unnoticed. It was alleged that the 
students had acted insubordinately in addressing the Boards directly 
instead of through the Faculty, and some of the members of the 
Boards gave this supposed impropriety as their reason for not con- 
sidering the petition, stating at the same time that they were op- 
posed to the drill. The students replied that before they sent their 
November letter to the Boards they had been told by one of the 
Faculty that such a course would not be irregular. The under- 
graduates bitterly resented what they regarded as a refusal to even 
hear them. A little later the Orient said, "The men whom you have 
thus disdained will soon be those to whom you will look for assistance 
and encouragement, whom you will expect to be patrons of the col- 
lege. We predict that the men now in college will hardly fulfill these 
expectations." 

When drill began in the spring the opposition manifested itself in 
disorders. Insulting inscriptions directed against the drill and 
Major Sanger were written on the chapel walls, a Napoleon was dis- 
mounted and breech blocks were stolen. 

Soon matters became more serious. "On May 19," say the Faculty 
records, "there was much shouting and profanity on dispersing from 
the Artillery Drill, on the part of the members of the Junior class." 
By order of Major Sanger, the captain of the battery gave notice at 
the next drill that, in future, such demonstrations would be punished 
as grave offenses. "Immediately on breaking ranks a murmur arose 
particularly emphasized by X, who said aloud, 'whoever does not keep 
his mouth shut about the drill now must understand that he is sitting 
on his coffin.' This murmur swelled into loud cheers or groans par- 
ticipated in by a group returning to Maine and Winthrop Halls." 
The Faculty acted promptly and vigorously and suspended the whole 
Junior class. Next day there was an investigation, six of the stu- 
dents admitted groaning, one of them was dismissed and the re- 
mainder were suspended until the close of the term. On Friday the 
suspension was removed. But the Juniors were determined on war. 



138 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

On Thursday they had voted that they would never drill at Bowdoin 
again. Friday noon was the next hour for drill, if the weather were 
fair, but a rain storm prevented it from being held. The next drill 
was for the Sophomores and Freshmen at five. The Sophomores took 
a pledge like that of the Juniors. The Freshmen simply voted to cut 
the drill. When five o'clock came the Sophomores and Freshmen were 
massed in front of the chapel, but only two obeyed the command to 
fall in. At seven the Freshmen adopted the Sophomore pledge. That 
evening the Faculty sat in conclave till midnight, appointed two Pro- 
fessors a committee to investigate the rebellion, and adjourned until 
one-thirty Saturday noon. "The committee called several of the most 
prominent and reliable of the disaffected students before them and 
conversed with them freely and frankly with regard to their objec j 
tions to the drill. The Faculty also appointed three professors to 
address the three lower classes, one professor for each class, and to 
endeavor to convince them that they were acting both improperly 
and under a misapprehension of the power of the Faculty, that only 
the governing Boards had authority to abolish the drill." But all 
efforts proved vain. The recalcitrant classes held a meeting in the 
chapel ; each class reported that it was ready to stand its ground and 
entered into a compact to that effect. The Faculty, however, hoping 
that other counsels might prevail, resolved to postpone any decisive 
action until its regular meeting, Monday night. Noon of that day 
was the hour for the next drill, but rain again prevented its being 
held. Then the students, in order to make an issue, sent to the Fac- 
ulty a written statement of their resolve not to drill. The next 
morning, feeling that they had gone too far, they presented a re- 
quest, also in writing, for leave to withdraw the paper ; but petitioned 
the Faculty to make the drill optional. This, however, did not mean 
a surrender; for the student who bore the second communication 
stated verbally that the determination not to drill was unchanged. 
The same morning, Tuesday, the Sophomores, at a college meeting, 
set their names to the following paper : 

"We, the undersigned, members of the class of 76, all other honor- 
able means having failed to release us from drill and believing that 
our rights as men are in this case paramount to our duties as stu- 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 139 

dents pledge in honor to the following, this paper becoming null and 
void if more than three members of the class refuse to sign. 

"We refuse ever again to attend drill in this College. 

"If one or more of the members of this class be subjected to college 
discipline in consequence of any results arising from this measure we 
pledge ourselves to consider our entire class subject to this same 
discipline and act accordingly." 4 

Similar documents were signed by the Juniors and Freshmen. 

At noon the Juniors cut the drill. In the afternoon the Faculty 
called before them every man who had been irregularly absent from 
drill, asked each one if he would obey the college rules, and, on the 
refusal of the whole number to drill, sent them home. Most of the 
members of the band, which appears not to have been required to at- 
tend ordinary drills, and certain students who had been excused from 
doing so on account of poor physique, manifested their sympathy 
with the strikers by going home also and were subjected to the same 
discipline. President Chamberlain, by authority of the Faculty, at 
once dispatched a printed letter to the parents of the suspended 
students, giving notice that every one of them who failed to send 
a renewal of his matriculation pledge within ten days would be ipso 
facto expelled from Bowdoin. But the President added that all who 
submitted would receive at Commencement an honorable dismissal to 
another college if, in the meantime, their objections to the drill had 
not been removed. Steps were also taken to cut off all hopes of refuge 
for the students who might be expelled. Intercollegiate comity, and 
the maintenance of proper standards of conduct, forbid the admis- 
sion by any college of students expelled from another ; but there had 
been a report that Dartmouth would receive the Bowdoin exiles. 
President Chamberlain wrote to President Smith of Dartmouth ask- 
ing him to state by telegram and letter if there was any truth in this 
rumor. President Smith replied that it was false, strongly approved 
the stand which General Chamberlain had taken, and said that the 
Bowdoin authorities should require submission to the college laws 
before considering any modification of them. His answer was at once 
made public. 

4 The original, torn in two, was recently presented to the college library. The 
halves had been kept by two of the Sophomores. 



140 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

The suspension at Bowdoin with threat of expulsion of practically 
three classes caused great excitement and attracted much attention 
from newspapers both within and without the state. The Bangor 
Commercial, then edited by Marcellus F. Emery, Bowdoin 1853, who 
had been a notorious and venomous Copperhead during the Civil 
War, was most bitter in its condemnation of the drill. It declared 
that at the last Commencement the alumni were disgusted by the sight 
of cannon and caissons on the campus, and intimated a belief that 
the President and Professors wished to hide their inferiority to their 
predecessors by substituting show for brains. 

The Portland Argus, another leading Democratic paper, which 
had been somewhat pacifist during the Civil War, admitted that it 
was the duty of the Faculty to enforce the laws of the college but 
considered the rebellion a proof that the drill should go. It said: 
"The revolt of three whole classes . . . shows that something is 
radically wrong and needs to be reformed. It is not conceivable that 
such an unanimous disregard of a requirement could occur when that 
requirement was reasonable and wise. It betokens something so far 
out of the way that no time should be lost in righting it . . . 

"The Trustees . . . should immediately see to it that the whole 
thing is promptly abolished. The peace and prosperity of the col- 
lege plainly demand it, and there ought not to be a moment's hesita- 
tion on the subject." 

But the general opinion of the press was that whether the require- 
ment of military drill were wise or not, authority should be main- 
tained. The Boston Advertiser was the special champion of law and 
order. It said : "There can be no honorable concession to the rebel- 
lious students until they submit themselves to the rules of the college. 
If the result should be the temporary closing up of the doors of the 
institution, it is better so than that it should be understood that the 
Faculty is only nominally the governing board, and that the students 
really have their own way." But, unlike many papers, the Advertiser 
seemed to favor not only the temporary maintenance of the drill, but 
its permanent retention in the curriculum. The New York Commer- 
cial Advertiser suggested that the students expel or suspend the 
Faculty and be done with it. The Boston Transcript thought the 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 141 

conduct of the students strange, called attention to the failure of 
Bowdoin to send a crew to the race at Saratoga that year, and ex- 
pressed the opinion that "Physical training appears to be at a dis- 
count in Maine." 

Letters appeared in the Maine papers condemning the students in 
the most scathing language. 

One writer said that gymnastic training had long been a part of 
the curriculum, that, for the summer term, a military drill of one 
hour a day had been substituted, and that "it seemed to many of the 
friends of the college that a knowledge of military tactics might be 
quite as profitable to the young gentlemen as an emulous acquirement 
of the tricks of circus tumblers [a thrust at the spectacular feats 
performed in the gymnastic exhibitions]. 

"The peculiarity of this rebellion is the fact that it requires noth- 
ing which can be considered as even a mistaken adherence to any 
manly principle. College boys often combine to resist what they 
regard as the unjust punishment of a sturdy young fellow who will 
neither turn informer nor profess ignorance of the matters concern- 
ing which he is interrogated. 

"In such a case the rebellion is a manifestation of respect for 
sterling qualities — for truthfulness and fidelity. But in this in- 
stance the motive is merely a desire for selfish ease. It is a rebellion 
against hard work. The drill of an hour a day is too severe a tax 
upon the muscles of the young men, and life upon such terms they 
think not worth having. This is the logic of their position, though 
we cannot believe that these picked youth, the flower of the State, 
are such Miss Nancies as they appear in this affair. They are misled 
and have put themselves in a false position, untrue to their manhood, 
and must certainly see, upon reflection, that self-respect requires a 
retraction of their hasty pledge, adopted in a public meeting, under 
the stimulus of excited oratory and the fear of standing out alone. 
A motion to reconsider is always in order." 

Another letter preserved in the college "Clippings" is signed 
"Granny." The old lady said : "Let us hope the President and Fac- 
ulty will not be too severe with the manly youth of Bowdoin. If the 
question had been that of compulsory attendance on the cheerful 6am 



142 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

prayers in the unwarmed old rickety wooden [Chapel] or on the 
lengthy afternoon Sunday services in the ancient meeting house, or 
the calculus, spherical shell and other pleasing diversions of thirty 
years ago, we confess that no mercy should be shown to such rebels. 
Generous and fiery youth loves or ought to love such exhilarating 
pleasures. But elderly men are too apt, in their own passionate 
fondness for military exercises, to forget how painful and repulsive 
the art of war is to the bashful and ingenuous youth whose proverbial 
fondness for retirement and study should not be rudely disturbed by 
duties so unsuited to their tender years." "Granny" admitted, how- 
ever, that discipline ought to be maintained, and therefore proposed 
a compromise : half the rebels were to be expelled and the other half 
pardoned, both drill and gymnastic exercises were to be abolished, 
and Bowdoin was to become co-educational. 

The students found that the general sentiment of the state con- 
demned the mode of redress which they had adopted, but that there 
was much sympathy with their opposition to the drill, and it is not im- 
probable that some of the Trustees gave unofficial assurances that if 
the rebels would "save the face" of the Faculty by returning to obedi- 
ence until Commencement the Boards would make the drill optional. 
Accordingly, the students decided to yield. On June 5 the Freshmen 
met at the Preble House, in Portland, and agreed to return to college 
with the understanding that if, at Commencement, the Boards did not 
abolish the drill or make it elective they would ask a dismissal. Simi- 
lar action was taken by the other classes. By June 8 all the rebellious 
students were back at their work except three, who, the President 
said in his annual report, "gave us to understand that they kept away 
from no feelings against the Faculty or the College, but by reason of 
some hard words at their class meetings when the question of their 
return was under discussion." 5 

At Commencement it became the duty of the authorities to decide 
what action, if any, they would take concerning the drill. President 
Chamberlain said, in his report, that wisdom might require that a 
choice be allowed between work in the gymnasium and military drill. 

5 The three afterward returned and graduated with their class. 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AXD CHAMBERLAIN 143 

Major Sanger, at the request of the President, made a special report 
on the subject. Though his views were not extreme, yet they are a 
little suggestive of the goose-step. He emphasized the value of mili- 
tary discipline in the formation of character, and criticized the Pro- 
fessors for not taking more care that their work did not interfere 
with his, directly or indirectly. He was much disturbed by a lack of 
regularity, and complained that the recitation bells did not ring ex- 
actly as they should, and that "Time is an element sadly abused at 
Bowdoin College.'" 3 Major Sanger said that if the drill were to be 
further limited he was clearly of the opinion that it should either 
be required of a single class or be elective for the whole college. But 
he expressed an earnest wish that the instruction in military science 
should not be discontinued, saying: "Whatever the real cause, it will 
be attributed to the insurrectionary movement of the students. In 
my humble judgment such an impression will work great harm to the 
future of the college and will jeopardize the cause of military in- 
struction throughout the country. Twenty colleges have introduced 
the study of military science, and great anxiety prevails least the 
students imitate the example of their brothers at Bowdoin, and any- 
thing short of a vigorous denunciation of their conduct will en- 
courage those who contemplate a similar violation of college disci- 
pline as well as those who are opposing the military policy of the 
government." 

The Visiting Committee reported, though in a somewhat hesitating 
manner, against compulsory drill. They spoke in high terms of the ad- 
vantages of military drill, but said that it made an important change 
in the curriculum of a Xew England college like Bowdoin; and that 
attention should be paid to the feelings, and even the prejudices, of 
the students, and of their parents and friends, until further knowl- 

6 It should not be forgotten, however, that the students did their best to make 
the professors punctual. If an instructor were over five minutes late it was the 
custom for the class to disperse with shouts of "adjourn." But while this doubt- 
less helped to secure prompt attendance at recitations by the Faculty, it could not 
compel them to leave at the proper moment. In this respect there would appear 
to have been much reason for Major Sanger's disapproval. The Orient said: "Stu- 
dents would like to know just what the length of a recitation in college is to be. 
It is very inconvenient to have plans upset, hopes deferred, and worst of all pa- 
tience exhausted by the continuance of recitations fifteen or twenty minutes after 
the time to close them." 



144 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

edge of the question permitted a decided opinion. They expressed 
the hope that Major Sanger by patience, reasonable modification of 
the drill and a recollection that the young gentlemen under his charge 
represented all varieties of mental and physical condition, some of 
them being unfitted for great endurance, would yet demonstrate 
to all the value of the physical exercise of the department. The 
Committee advised that there be an hour's infantry drill in suitable 
weather, not oftener than three times a week, then, coming to the 
nub of the whole question, they recommended that the drill be volun- 
tary. The Committee had inquired into the causes of the strike of 
the students and appears to have reached the conclusion that their 
superiors were partly to blame. Accordingly it proceeded to deliver 
a little address or sermon, which might have been entitled "How 
Bowdoin rulers should behave." The Committee said that "The 
great sources of good discipline are steadiness, directness and appar- 
ently entire harmony of action on the part of the Governors. The 
President of a college must deal both with Faculty and Students face 
to face with unswerving directness of statement, and in the manner 
of one doing the duties of his station, because they are duties and 
not because his station is superior. The Faculty must avoid cabals, 
refrain from depreciating one another, either carelessly or malicious- 
ly, in the hearing of enemies or intermeddlers, and guard most care- 
fully against sowing among the undergraduates the sense of distrust 
or want of confidence in the President of the College or in any of its 
departments. The Boards also have duties, among which are to re- 
member that variety of opinions temperately expressed is a good 
and not an evil, and to use here the same business traits they would 
be ashamed to withhold while managing other corporations, among 
which are tolerance of diverse sentiments and persistency to over- 
come difficulties. It is in the stress of weather that the good seaman 
sticks to his ship. Let the Boards also remember while it is their 
right to investigate, to demand explanations, to criticise, and finally 
decide, yet the basis of all is just confidence in the branch of the 
College Government whose views of collegiate requirements are the 
result of daily experience and observation." 

There was no occasion for direct action on the acceptance or re- 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 145 

jection of these excellent principles. The recommendation of the 
Committee that compulsory drill be abolished was accepted, but Pro- 
fessor Little says that this was not done without "strenuous oppo- 
sition." Every student was required, at the beginning of the year, 
to elect work in the gymnasium, or the drill, and might, if he chose, 
elect both. The Faculty were authorized to prescribe for the drill a 
uniform costing not over six dollars. 

The students made full use of the option granted. In the fall only 
four elected military training, in the winter twenty took broadsword 
drill and in the spring twelve volunteered for infantry drill. Major 
Sanger believed that more would have taken it but for "baneful in- 
fluences." He told the Visiting Committee of 1875 that there was a 
growing good feeling toward the drill; and advised that it be re- 
quired of Freshmen because of their docility ; but that it be elective 
for the rest of the college. President Chamberlain also expressed the 
opinion that the opposition to the drill was mainly due to outside 
influences. Mr. Sargent, the student instructor in the gymnasium, 
was about to graduate; Major Sanger's detail would expire in Jan- 
uary and the President pointed out that these changes gave a good 
opportunity for a reconsideration of the question of military drill. 
He admitted that too much might have been attempted at first, but 
he maintained that the chief purpose of the drill would be justified 
by time. The Trustees were not ready to give up the experiment, 
and in October they directed their committee on military instruction 
to apply to the War Department to detail an officer to succeed Ma- 
jor Sanger. The request was granted and Captain Caziarc was sent 
to Brunswick. His experience was much like that of Major Sanger, 
the drill was kept up but the attendance was small. In his report for 
1878 Captain Caziarc announced that rifle shooting had been intro- 
duced, the national government furnishing the rifles and ammunition, 
and the selectmen of Brunswick the range. He urged that the wear- 
ing of a cap, blouse and belt, not to cost over three dollars, be re- 
quired ; and said that unless this were done, no efforts of the college 
government could save the military department from serious injury. 
The Visiting Committee again defended the drill. President Cham- 



146 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

berlain, in his annual report, stated that objections to the drill, as 
such, were disappearing; but that the students were being drawn 
away by baseball and boating, which were officially recognized as gym- 
nastic exercises, and therefore substitutes for drill. General Cham- 
berlain said that it was unfortunate that the drill had been classed 
as gymnasium work, but that this had appeared to be the only way 
to save it from abolition ; and he stated that the drill was intended 
more as a discipline of the mind and character than of the body, "a 
preparation to aid in an effective manner and one suitable for men 
of culture and developed ability, in defense of the country in the 
great crises which must come in every generation, and which may not 
now be far off. The mind of the Country should command the muscle. 
Our educated young men should be so instructed as to be able to as- 
sume command of men, and to direct the defense of society against 
its foes." There was much truth in this argument, but it helps us to 
understand a portion of the out-of-college opposition to the drill. 

In 1879 the Visiting Committee reported that the majority of the 
Faculty favored the entire abolition of the drill. It said: "The pre- 
vailing opinion seems to be that it [the drill] has been a failure, that 
it is not in harmony with the spirit or design of the college, — that 
while in most instances [there had been only three] we have been 
fortunate in the officer delegated or detailed to give the military in- 
struction this officer must be changed frequently, and never subject 
or responsible to the college." General Chamberlain stated that he 
did not agree with the Faculty, but that he would acquiesce if the 
Boards thought abolition to be best. He said : "The experiment has 
not been so successful as I could wish, and perhaps it is impractible 
to bring such exercises into a regular college with traditions like 
ours. It is worthy of note, however, that other colleges which were 
loud in reproaching us for accepting this offer of government, are 
now earnestly endeavoring to supplant us by procuring this detail 
for themselves." 

The Boards still remained loyal to the drill; and a junior officer, 
Lieutenant Crawford, succeeded Captain Caziarc, as he had suc- 
ceeded his superior in rank, Major Sanger. Lieutenant Crawford 
had nineteen soldiers under him in the fall term, and twenty-nine in 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 147 

the spring. The new commander had the courage to advise that the 
drill be made compulsory for the two or three lower classes, and that 
prizes be given for excellence and the wiliness to propose that if the 
Boards were unwilling to do this openly they should pay him fifty 
dollars for his lectures in international law, in which case, he said, he 
would cheerfully use the money to furnish rewards for proficiency in 
drill. The Boards took no action in the matter, nevertheless in the 
following year the drill was more successful; fifty-two men, in all, 
were enrolled, with an average of "present" 42.5. Lieutenant Craw- 
ford reported that the improvement was due to his explaining to the 
students the usefulness of military knowledge and the ease with which 
it could be acquired, to the attention given to popular exercises, such 
as target shooting, and to the subscription by private persons of 
about three hundred dollars to reduce the expense of the uniforms. 
Lieutenant Crawford stated that five of the Seniors were fit to com- 
mand companies, and that a certificate of their ability would be 
given them at Commencement. The Lieutenant proposed that the 
drill be made compulsory in Freshman year. He said that "The 
greater tractability of the student during this year, renders it much 
easier to permanently overcome defects of gait and present bearing, 
which so many bring with them, the military exercises are more 
readily and thoroughly learned, and the duty of immediate and im- 
plicit obedience is seen and observed without complaint or hardship." 

But military training was not to be saved. Memorial Hall, whose 
interior long remained unfinished, had been used for a gymnasium. 
When the approaching completion of the Hall rendered it neces- 
sary to obtain other quarters for the gymnics a room in Seth Adams 
Hall was assigned them. But this was soon taken for an anatomical 
cabinet, gymnastic exercises were suspended, and the Faculty deemed 
it just, or at least necessary, if the gymnics were excused from work 
to release the cadets also. Thereupon the national government pro- 
posed to withdraw the instructor, but, at the earnest request of 
General Chamberlain, allowed him to remain for the rest of the col- 
lege year and complete his lecture course on military science. 

In 1882 the Visiting Committee reported the condition of affairs 
to the Boards, and, because of the difficulty of continuing the drill 



148 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

and the danger that the attempt would only result in the state's los- 
ing the services of the officer detailed by the war department, the 
Committee reluctantly recommended that with proper acknowledg- 
ments of past consideration the department be advised to transfer its 
aid to the Agricultural College at Orono. The Boards did so and 
military training, except in time of war or imminent danger of war, 
was known no more at Bowdoin. 

The drill rebellion and the substantial victory of the students can 
hardly have strengthened college authority, but it does not seem to 
have weakened it. In the years immediately following the rebellion 
there appears to have been no unusual disorder. In the spring of 
1877 various severe penalties were inflicted for hazing; but they were 
afterward removed or mitigated. In October of that year four Soph- 
omores were suspended until the end of the term for stopping a 
Freshmen election, throwing water, breaking glass, and rendering a 
recitation room unfit for use. But when the Sophomores petitioned 
the Faculty for mercy, and presented a pledge signed by every mem- 
ber of the class, binding them not to molest the Freshmen in any way, 
the exiles were allowed to return on special probation. In 1878 the 
Sophomores indulged in one of their customary demonstrations, and 
agreed that if questioned they would reply, we have nothing to say 
about it. A number of Sophomores were summoned before the Fac- 
ulty, eleven refused to answer the question, "Were you out hazing 
Freshmen on such a night," and were sent home. They were followed 
by a letter from the Secretary of the Faculty to their parents re- 
questing them to keep their sons at home unless they would return 
prepared to answer such questions regarding their own conduct as 
the Faculty might put to them. All did so, confessed their disorder- 
ly behavior and were reprimanded. The same year a rather startling 
"hostage system" was tried. Three Sophomores were notified that 
they would be on probation throughout the year and would be 
"held responsible for any molestation of the Freshman Class or any 
member of it by Sophomores." This appeared to be effective, for the 
President informed the Faculty that the Sophomores had voluntarily 
agreed not to molest the Freshmen in any way, and that the latter 
had promised not to engage in acts "traditionally regarded" as 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AXD CHAMBERLAIN 149 

challenges to the Sophomores, and not to haze the next year. The 
Faculty then reconsidered and voted down the hostage resolution. 

But this did not bring peace to the Freshmen. The two upper 
classes felt that the disciplinary duties had devolved upon them ; and 
for several years there were hazings, suspensions, and compromises. 
In 1881 and 1883 there were cases of hazing which, perhaps, did 
more harm to Bowdoin than any others in its history, and which are 
specially interesting because of the appeals made for or by the vic- 
tims to the courts or the Faculty. Student custom forbade Fresh- 
men having cider on the campus. If anyone was discovered break- 
ing the rule Sophomores promptly confiscated the smuggled goods 
and took measures which effectually prevented their recovery. In 
October, 1881, Sophomores in a search for cider visited number 
twenty-five South Appleton Hall, then occupied by two Freshmen, 
Frank N. Whittier, who needs no introduction to Bowdoin men, and 
C. A. Strout, son of S. C. Strout, of Portland, later a judge of the 
Maine Supreme Court. No cider was found, and the Sophomores 
departed, but they remained in front of the "end," one of their num- 
ber, Packard, went round the corner of the building; and a piece of 
coal was thrown through a window at which Strout was standing 
and struck him in the eye. Some of the Sophomores came into the 
room, but they neither expressed regrets nor offered any assistance. 
It was alleged, however, that they did not know that Strout had 
been injured, that their view of him was obstructed by a large table, 
and by his roommate, who, it was explained, was of considerable 
size. 

Great was the scandal. Mr. Strout withdrew his son from college 
on the ground that he was incapacitated for work, and sued Packard 
and six other students for ten thousand dollars. It was claimed that 
Packard threw the coal, that the others were engaged with him in 
a conspiracy against the Freshmen, and that this rendered them 
particeps criminis. The defendants admitted joining in a search for 
cider ; but they denied any assault or plan of assault, and swore that 
Packard did not go out of sight, and that he did not throw the coal. 
The jury were out over eight hours, but were unable to agree. It 



150 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

was reported that they stood ten to two in favor of the plaintiff. A 
second trial resulted in a verdict against Packard, but it was set 
aside by the law court on the ground that the trial judge had erred 
in his charge to the jury on the nature of conspiracy. 

The Orient said that it believed that the students were innocent, 
and that the college did also, but that the daily press had let its 
imagination run riot. The Orient, however, saw the injury which 
hazing, even in a comparatively mild form, did to the college; and 
urged its entire abolition. A student wrote to the paper saying : "In 
the present sensitive state of public opinion, the trivial acts of today 
are more injurious to the college than the genuine hazing of former 
years. A sharp issue is accordingly presented to succeeding Sopho- 
mores. Shall it be loyalty to Bowdoin College or to an indefensible 
custom?" 

Unfortunately the new Sophomores were deaf to these appeals ; 
and there were clashes between the classes of 1885 and 1886 and be- 
tween the Faculty and 1885, which were extremely serious. The 
conflict may be called The War of Smith's Moustache. About a 
hundred years ago a petty Italian prince, the Duke of Modena, for- 
bade his civilian subjects to wear moustachios or other "military 
insignia." Similarly, at Bowdoin, the Sophomores prohibited the 
childlike Freshmen from displaying the manly moustache. In the 
year 1882-1883 there were several violations of this rule. Various 
students entered Bowdoin with moustaches. As this crop had been 
grown lawfully, the mild, fair-minded Sophomores made no attempt 
to reap it, but when Freshman Smith deliberately began to raise a 
moustache the Sophomores decided to act. The Freshmen, who had 
been subjected to considerable hazing, came to a like resolution. 
On January 18, 1883, one or two Freshmen informed Professor 
Charles H. Smith of the hazing which had been practiced, and he 
reported the state of affairs to the Faculty. That body became 
convinced that "there was such hostility between the classes that 
there was danger of a disgraceful outbreak." Accordingly the Sec- 
retary of the Faculty, Professor Chapman, was requested to notify 
those members of the Sophomore class who had made themselves 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 151 

prominent in the insolent treatment of Freshmen that they would be 
held personally responsible for any molestation of Freshmen. Four 
hostages were selected, but without avail, for on the ensuing Sunday 
night masked students entered Smith's room and clipped off his 
moustache with a pair of scissors. Then certain Freshmen went to 
Professor Smith and reported various indignities inflicted on mem- 
bers of the class. Monday night the Faculty met. All the hostages 
had an alibi, for two had been out of town, and the others had been 
in rooms where they could be accounted for. It is said that the first 
two had been sent to Augusta with the intention of trapping the 
Faculty into punishing men who could prove their innocence. But 
the hostages, and a fifth student who had been engaged in a series of 
hazings, were ordered home. Applications for a hearing and for 
definite reasons for the punishment were refused ; and at a Sophomore 
recitation Tuesday afternoon the class monitor handed to the in- 
structor, Mr. G. T. Little, a paper signed by every member of the 
class who was in town stating that as the five had been sent home 
without a hearing and without any cause being assigned the class 
would not attend college exercises until the wrong had been righted. 
Next morning Professor Smith, at the request of the Faculty, ad- 
dressed the Sophomores and tried to persuade them of the impro- 
priety of their action, but without success. The day was the Day of 
Prayer for Colleges, and the only exercises were morning and evening 
chapel. President Chamberlain was away, but was expected to re- 
turn that night ; and the Faculty voted that he be requested to noti- 
fy every Sophomore who should be unwarrantably absent from prayers 
next morning that he must attend the next recitation or take the next 
train for home. It was also voted "that in the opinion of the Faculty 
it is vital to the maintenance of College authority that the President 
refuse to see the class together, or to hold communication with any 
one as a representative of the class until full submission has been 
made to lawful authority." 

On Friday morning there were only nine Sophomores at prayers. 
Thirteen were absent; they were summoned before the President, 
refused to attend recitations, and were sent home. Their parents 



152 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

were informed of their conduct and the young men were called on 
to show cause why they should not be dismissed. "All sent letters 
of acknowledgment of error and submission." 

Before acting upon the petitions for restoration, say the Faculty 
records, "it was decided to investigate the hazing acts which culmi- 
nated in the masked assault upon Smith, as it was felt that the in- 
subordination grew out of the hazing spirit, and that it was more 
important to strike at the root of the evil than at the fruit of it." 

The fathers of the five students first sent home were asked to with- 
draw their sons from college; and after some further investigation 
of what the President called the "mutilation of Smith," six more 
Sophomores were forbidden to return as members of their class. The 
rest of the strikers were pardoned on the ground that they had not 
been concerned "in the course of hazing referred to." Earnest efforts 
were made to obtain clemency for others but they were unsuccessful. 
X, who had been refused admission to Colby, probably because of his 
virtual expulsion from Bowdoin, wrote to Professor Chapman: "I 
can't enter here [Colby] ... I think we have received punishment 
enough as it is, but it does seem unjust to deprive me of the benefits 
of a college education, especially as you have retained men in '85 
who, if they had had the manhood to have told the truth would have 
been removed with us. If Colby won't receive me I suppose Williams 
won't and I can't afford to go anywhere else so I make one last ap- 
peal to you." Professor Chapman's reply may cause regret for its 
severity, but it stirs admiration by its tone of manliness and honor. 
He said that the Faculty had acted without haste, and had done what 
they thought that the interest of the college required, and that 
personally he believed that they were right. Then came the ringing 
sentence, "If there are some still here who were as guilty as yourself, 
they are not here through our partiality but their own falsehood. I 
would rather be in your place than theirs." 

One is glad to learn that X's punishment proved less than he 
feared; and that he completed his education at Dartmouth and re- 
ceived his A.B. 

In justice to the Faculty it must be remembered that clemency 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 153 

might be mistaken for weakness. Some years before, the Orient had 
said that it was usually students with influential friends who took 
the lead in hazing; that these men had nothing to fear from sus- 
pension, and that such a sentence not only failed to check hazing, 
but, what was worse, created contempt for an authority which could 
not enforce its own rules. The Orient advocated dropping to a 
lower class. 

In appealing to the Faculty, members of '86 had violated college 
custom, and they were bitterly censured — the more so as the punish- 
ment inflicted had crippled the baseball team. The '86 men were 
accused of making a great disturbance over the veriest trifles, of 
complaining because one Freshman had a bag of peanuts stolen, pre- 
sumably, by a Sophomore, and that the bootblacking of another 
was used by a Sophomore without his consent. The moustache affair 
was called a harmless joke. Professor Smith replied to these 
charges in a letter to the Orient; he said that the Freshmen had 
mentioned the peanuts merely incidentally, and the bootblacking not 
at all; that they told of real indignities and understated them. He 
also said that a part of the Sophomore class distinctly repudiated 
the whole miserable business of "ragging" Freshmen, that some up- 
per classmen had approved of the appeal to authority, that there 
was a growing sentiment at Bowdoin and the best New England col- 
leges in favor of a proper cooperation between students and Faculty 
in preserving order and correcting abuses, and that he considered 
that the action of '86 was straightforward, rational and manly. 
Such, however, was not the view of the undergraduates ; and '86 suf- 
fered much, in public opinion, throughout its course. Nevertheless, 
the affair of the moustache was the last of the very serious hazing 
troubles at Bowdoin. Times were changing and the Sophomores 
changed with them. The hazing society, Phi Chi, probably held its 
last initiation in 1882, when one of the Freshmen is said to have been 
nearly killed. 

President Chamberlain's administration was marked by the only 
serious attempt that Bowdoin has made to grow, or degenerate, into 
a "university." The idea, indeed, was not new. The founding of the 
medical school was a step in that direction, and its success led many 



154 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

friends of the college to believe that the time had come for a law 
school to be added to the collegiate foundation. "In 1850, and again 
at a later period, a professor of law, and statutes for such a school, 
were definitely decided on by the Trustees. On each occasion, how- 
ever, it proved impossible to secure at once the additional endowment 
of twenty-five thousand dollars upon which the execution of the votes 
was conditioned. In the formulation of these plans the advocates of 
the school had the assistance and sympathy of Professor Simon 
Greenleaf, who partially consented to lend his services as lecturer* 
The two gentlemen selected as law professors had served as chief 
justice, respectively, of Maine and Vermont." The college also pur- 
chased the law library of an old lawyer recently deceased. 

In the late sixties there was an extension of the teaching of science, 
which had it been maintained might have developed into a new school 
or schools. In 1864 the college received a bequest from Josiah Little 
of Newburyport and in 1868 Professor Brackett, Professor Cleave- 
land's successor, recommended, with the concurrence of the Faculty* 
that his department be divided and that a professorship "of miner- 
alogy, botany and applied chemistry, be created to be called the 
Josiah Little Professorship." The Visiting Committee advised that 
this be done, saying, "The Josiah Little Fund would be put to the 
use for which it was intended, the promotion of practical science." 
The Faculty recommended that Mr. George L. Goodale, a graduate 
of Amherst, of the class of 1860, and of the Medical School of Maine 
of the class of 1863, be chosen as the new Professor. The Boards 
passed the desired votes and Mr. Goodale accepted the call. In the 
ensuing autumn not only alumni, as well as undergraduates, but men 
who had never attended Bowdoin were allowed the use of the labora- 
tories for purposes of study, but it became necessary to withdraw 
this privilege in order to meet the needs of the college students, and 
the laboratory courses were soon after suspended, the undergrad- 
uates having become clamorous for courses in applied mathematics 
and civil and mechanical engineering. Professor Brackett hoped that 
if instruction in these subjects were given the long felt want of an 
observatory might be supplied. He said that if Bowdoin met reason- 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 155 

able demands for courses in public engineering, mining, applied me- 
chanics, hydrography, physical geography, statistics and such other 
branches of practical learning as would tend to develop the resources 
of the state and content its emigrating people, it would enable the 
instructor in astronomy to obtain the means of erecting and furnish- 
ing an observatory, and thus to prosecute such labors in the depart- 
ment as would secure to Bowdoin an honorable mention among sim- 
ilar institutions in the country. The development of scientific in- 
struction was most strongly advocated by Visiting Committees. 
That of 1868 said: "It is urged that the methods hitherto in vogue 
for giving instruction in the natural sciences have failed to waken 
the enthusiasm or even secure the interest of students generally. 
They need to be brought into immediate contact with objects of na- 
ture, to be able to handle and investigate them, and therefore require 
the aid of collections of specimens and laboratories where mechanical 
operations can be seen and performed. ... If this arrangement is 
carried out it is believed that a small scientific class may be imme- 
diately formed from graduates and others and this may become a 
nucleus of an important department in the future." 

In 1870 the Committee attempted to meet the demand for a broad- 
er curriculum, and a development of the elective system, by advising 
that the requirements for the degree of bachelor of arts remain un- 
changed, but that there be established a new course leading to the 
degree of bachelor of science. The Committee said: "The Faculty 
believe that the popular demand for optional studies is excessive; 
that the option should be not between particular studies, but between 
courses of study, each course having been carefully arranged with 
reference to a particular type of men. The course should diverge at 
some early period in the college course, and always have one or more 
studies in common, that the class may still feel itself to be a unit. 
The option should be once for all, and should be subject to the con- 
sent and acceptance of the Faculty. The Committee concur in these 
views, and believe that the establishment of two optional courses 
would be suited to meet existing demands, and to increase the number 
of students. Such establishment would however require augmentation 



156 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

in the number of instructors and must await increase of funds." 7 
In 1871 it was decided to wait for funds no longer. The year was 
that of General Chamberlain's election as President, and he made it 
a condition of acceptance that the Boards adopt a policy of expan- 
sion. They did so, voting that the interests of the college required 
the establishment of a scientific department or school with a course 
fully equivalent to that of the college; that, as soon as possible, 
there should be created a post-graduate school with a two-year course, 
and that Bowdoin ought, also, to have a school of industry and the 
arts as far as there was a demand for one. The Boards further voted 
that measures for carrying out these plans should be taken immedi- 
ately, and authorized the President, with the advice of the Finance 
Committee, to expend a sum of not over ten thousand dollars for this 
purpose. 

The new department was organized at once. It is thus described 
by Professor Little in his Historical Sketch: "The courses in the 
scientific department were prescribed, and consisted, in Freshman 
year, of French, mathematics, English and ancient history ; in Soph- 
omore year, of chemistry, mathematics, logic, botany, and miner- 
alogy ; in Junior year, of German, physics, zoology, physiology, and 
astronomy ; in Senior year, of geology, mental and moral philosophy, 
political economy, constitutional and international law. Applied 
science was represented by a separate course made up of civil and 
mechanical engineering, combined with the above by the addition of 
drawing in place of the ancient history of Freshman year, and of 
the logic of Sophomore year, and by the omission, during the last 
two years, of the other studies except German, physics, and political 
economy. The four years course in engineering was, from the first, 
under the personal direction of Professor George L. Vose, afterwards 
of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an instructor whose 

7 It is interesting to note the assumption of the desirability of maintaining 
class consciousness. In the eighteenth century professors often taught not special 
subjects but a college class in all the subjects which it studied. Bowdoin escaped 
this, but definite subjects or authors were studied by definite classes. A student 
recited entirely or almost entirely with his classmates, and there was, of course, a 
strong class feeling. When the Greek letter fraternities were introduced it was 
argued in their favor that they helped break down class barriers. But as the 
elective system developed the old alumni came to regret the former class unity in 
recitations. 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 157 

textbooks and pupils alike, testify to the character of the work he 
did at Bowdoin." 

President Chamberlain, in his report for 1875, defended the course 
which was taken. He said : "Now what to do was the question. To go 
along in that [the former] way making no decided movement but try- 
ing to win our way by inches and pay as we went, that evidently would 
be a slow way and some of us would drop off into our graves before 
any land of promise was reached, nor could we with any confidence 
commence by begging. No man would put his money into Bowdoin 
because it looked like a sinking ship. Candid men did not hesitate to 
tell us so. Clearly then it was our duty to make a bold advance. We 
must show life and vigor and promise. We must demonstrate that 
Bowdoin can be made to live, that students will come in here instead 
of passing by and will find what will keep them here and bring more. 
It was a desperate case but it was not trusting to luck or blind fate ; 
we weighed and balanced and economized to the utmost. Where 
things could not otherwise be secured we gave our own personal 
obligations and paid our own private funds. The expenditure has 
indeed been large, but it is a fair question whether it has not been a 
wise investment. Indeed it would not be rash to say that it would be 
better to go on even if the scale of expenditure would eat up the 
whole capital in a dozen years and then either die gloriously or be 
worth saving. I think the chances would be in favor of life. People 
are very helping in their natures. If a thing is going to live they go 
in for it and help it, if it is going to die they keep away from it and 
let it." 

In some quarters the change was warmly welcomed. The Orient 
of September 23, 1872, said: "73 is the only class remaining in col- 
lege which entered under the old regime, when Scientifics as such were 
unheard of among us, and our Alma Mater, wrapped in the dignified 
toga, descended to her from the last century, and withal somewhat 
frayed about the edges, sat in our halls in the proverbial, seedy re- 
spectability of those individuals 'who have seen better days,' teaching 
dead languages in an antiquated manner, refusing to believe that 
times had changed, and that continual advance must be recognized 



158 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

as a prime condition of life. Like Canute upon the seashore, Bowdoin 
really imagined she could turn back the irresistible tide of progress 
beating against her walls, and so obstinate was her resistance she 
came very near being overwhelmed and fossilized without one effort 
for self-preservation." 

Some, though they approved the change, did so with reservations 
and conditions. At the Commencement of 1873 ex-Professor Daniel 
R. Goodwin, of the class of 1832, delivered an address before the 
alumni in which he declared that it would be little less than a breach 
of trust to use money which had been given to a classical and mathe- 
matical institution for the new departments and that the demand for 
them should be measured by the contributions for their special pur- 
pose. But Professor Goodwin seemed uncertain what course Bow- 
doin should pursue. He said: "In my own view it is extremely de- 
sirable that such endowments should be made. A full course of 
scientific and technological as well of professional instruction must 
be added to our college work ;— the college must be raised to some- 
thing of the character of the University, or, as matters are now go- 
ing, must be content with the subordinate position of the classical 
school or the German gymnasium. And perhaps it is our pride rather 
than our wisdom that would shrink from such a result. For classical 
schools and gymnasia or their equivalents we must needs have." 

But President Chamberlain regarded the establishment of the 
science department as a true advance. He does not seem to have 
appreciated the value of a small college of high grade with the pro- 
fessors and pupils in close touch, or to have realized the danger that 
in a "people's university" standards would be lowered and the few 
students of superior quality almost subdued to what they worked 
in. Had he had his will the college would have abandoned her his- 
toric and true mission to become something very different, useful and 
worthy, but not "Old Bowdoin." In his first report President Cham- 
berlain expressed regret that want of early skilful and far-sighted 
management had led to the founding of other colleges in Maine with 
an animus hostile to Bowdoin. He said that "It is a great pity that 
today we see four colleges standing back to back and working away 
from each other, quadruplication of the men, appliances, forces and 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 159 

means which united would make a college of the first rank and a 
glory to Maine." 

Bowdoin's new extension, wide as it was, was not inclusive enough 
to satisfy President Chamberlain. He told the Boards : "One more 
class we must provide for. We [that is, he and the committee asso- 
ciated with him] wished that any one, in whatever stage or station in 
life, who might wish to profit by our facilities to pursue any line of 
study, whether with any class, or by himself, might find a welcome 
and a helping hand." All this showed a generous purpose; and if 
President Chamberlain was carried by his enthusiasm beyond the 
bounds of wisdom, it is only fair to him to remember that Bowdoin 
was at this time too small and too classical. 

President Chamberlain was obliged to meet not only hesitating 
.support but both open and secret opposition. Even the first he re- 
garded as disloyal. He told the Boards, and with some reason, that 
when a decision had been taken the minority should submit or be 
removed. In two of his reports he declared that there had been 
underhand work; that students had received letters encouraging 
disorder; that there had been captious opposition to men recom- 
mended for positions on the Faculty ; that teachers had dropped off ; 
that subscriptions had been withdrawn ; that students had been kept 
away from Bowdoin by a fear, due to the vacillation of the Boards, 
that the new policy would be abandoned ; and the classical President 
sharply contrasted his opponents with the loyal Penelope, saying 
that what was done by day was undone by night, but not for the 
purpose of keeping faith. 

In 1873 President Chamberlain addressed a convention of the two 
Boards, explained the situation of affairs and tendered his resigna- 
tion; the Boards refused it; expressed cordial approbation of his 
efforts to carry into execution the plans for broadening the education 
given by the college and voted "That while engaged in this grand 
experiment to meet the public demand for a more liberal course of 
college instruction, the President and Faculty are entitled to the 
moral support of the guardians and friends of the College until such 
time as the Boards authorize the discontinuance of the experiment." 

General Chamberlain had won a victory, but not a decisive one. 



160 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Many members of the Boards had agreed to his plans, not because 
they approved of them in themselves, but because there seemed to be 
no other means of obtaining the students and the money which Bow- 
doin needed. But after the first enthusiasm had passed away it was 
discovered that science, instead of supporting literature, was not 
even paying her own bills. Official signs of dissatisfaction appeared 
in 1874 when the Visiting Committee advised that for Freshmen the 
scientific course be made as much like the classical course as possible. 
This, as President Chamberlain pointed out in a later report, was in 
direct opposition to the idea on which the scientific department was 
founded. The Boards declined to adopt the recommendation of the 
Committee, but they withdrew from the President and Finance Com- 
mittee the right to make use of the fund set aside for college expan- 
sion. Hereafter appropriations from the fund were to be made only 
by the Boards themselves. This did not mean an abandonment of 
the new policy, but it was reported as such in many of the Maine 
newspapers. In the following year the President urged that a definite 
decision be made, and that it be in favor of continuing the scientific 
department. Conditions, however, grew worse and worse. Some 
undergraduates refrained from taking the scientific course on ac- 
count of the bad name given to the B.S. degree by the ease with which 
it was obtained at other institutions ; some were, perhaps, influenced 
by fear that the new department would be abandoned before they had 
completed their college course. The scientific department was in a 
most difficult position. "On the one hand, it had, as a competitor, the 
State Agricultural College with free tuition and lower requirements 
for admission ; on the other, the Massachusetts Institute of Tech- 
nology, with facilities in the way of material appliances and labora- 
tories which it could not equal; and in 1878 General Chamberlain 
succumbed to the odds against him, but in yielding he refused to take 
blame for what he had done and tried to do. He told the Boards: 
"We may console ourselves with having made an earnest effort to 
meet what was a demand of the times, with having done good work 
and earned a good fame ; and also derive some consolation from the 
consideration that a large part of the expenditure charged on the 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 161 

books to the Scientific Department was for apparatus and material 
which still exist and will be serviceable to the college." 

With the public he wished to be less frank. He said: "I hesitate 
to propose a method of relief but as I am not to be with the Boards 
at their coming meeting, 8 I would indicate one possible line of action 
which without making a volte face to the rear, would well cover the 
retreat. 

"Instead of announcing that the Scientific Department is aban- 
doned as a failure, a course which I fear would injure the College 
generally — it might be announced that after the year 1878 all 
candidates for admission to Bowdoin College in any undergraduate 
department should be examined in the same requirements and in com- 
pleting the course of studies receive the same degree. For the present a 
line of options should allow those inclined, to work toward 'scientific* 
studies during the second and third years, and in the Senior year all 
should come together again in proper culminating studies of the 
course. Students already admitted into the Scientific Department 
should be guaranteed the proper fulfilment of their legitimate expec- 
tations. In this way we could work into whatever the wisdom of 
the Boards might dictate in supplying the actual demand. 

"I am not strenuous about the particular method but this appears 
to me to spare us some humiliation for a course which is necessitated 
by no fault of ours." 

The Boards did nothing until the next year, 1879, when they 
referred the matter to a committee. The Visiting Committee, in its 
report for the same year, discussed the subject in a frank and lively 
way. It said: "We are attempting the support of two schools upon 
the same foundation and by the same teachers. If our forethought 
had been as good as our afterthought or to adopt a pardonable 
colloquialism — if our foresight had been as good as our hindsight 
should never have entered upon such an experiment. Within the last 
seven years the times have greatly changed, and changed just in a 
way to affect our scientific department most essentially. Then not 
the currency alone but the candidates for all college honors, and for 

8 President Chamberlain had been appointed United States Commissioner at the 
Paris Exposition. 



162 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

all other honors were inflated. Now we have more modest expecta- 
tions, hard money and hard times. The return to sober views and 
severe ways has wrought many changes and reduced many projects." 
The committee said that the scientific department was not pecunia- 
rily successful and that the salaries of the new professors had been 
fixed in expectation of tuition payments by students who had not 
come. The committee advised that Professor Vose's salary be re- 
duced to that allowed other professors — seventeen hundred dollars 
a year. They explained, however, that they meant no disparagement 
to the instructor in engineering, saying that "If the time should 
come, as some believe it will, when students can not be educated free 
of charge elsewhere [that is at Orono], and the merits of our pro- 
fessor should attract them, it may be both our duty and our pleasure 
to place vs. his services a more just and ample reward. But while the 
college is suffering yearly and daily for instruction in other depart- 
ments — departments essential to the proper health and life of the 
College — we can not justify ourselves in the distribution of our 
scanty funds which puts so large a share of them in a new depart- 
ment." There was much force in this argument, and it probably 
expressed the feeling of many of the professors. 

In 1880 the Boards voted to abolish the scientific department, but 
retained that of engineering. In 1881, however, the Visiting Com- 
mittee reported that Professor Vose desired a larger salary, but that 
the college was already paying him more than it could afford; that 
there were only seven students in the engineering department, and 
that the number would not increase unless a guarantee were given 
that students would have an opportunity of completing their course. 
The Committee stated that under these circumstances they had re- 
luctantly decided to advise the discontinuance of the engineering 
department unless some unforeseen assistance were obtained. They 
closed this part of their report with the question : "Is there not some 
friend of the college possessed of sufficient means, who would give 
distinction to his own name and bring additional lustre to the college 
by the full endowment of this department?" Such days were still in 
the future, the wished-for benefactor did not appear, and the en- 
gineering course was abandoned. Professor Vose accepted an invi- 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 163 

tation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and some of 
his best students accompanied him. Late in life he returned to end his 
days in Brunswick. He is reported to have said that leaving Bowdoin 
had been of no financial advantage to him, that the increase in his 
salary had been offset by the higher cost of living. 

With the abolition of the scientific department the curriculum of 
the college proper was rearranged, and a greater opportunity was 
given for the study of the sciences. Indeed, the whole period from 
the close of President Woods's administration to the beginning of 
President Hyde's was characterized by a strengthening of the teach- 
ing of science at Bowdoin, both by increasing the number of instruc- 
tors and by the adoption of modern methods. 

In 1868 Professor Brackett stated in his annual report that it 
was absolutely necessary to buy laboratory apparatus of the value 
of five thousand dollars ; and the Visiting Committee recommended 
that this be done as soon as funds were received for the purpose; 
and that every effort be made to secure them. The Boards appro- 
priated the money, if it could be obtained without encroaching on 
the capital of the college. But immediate action was imperative, 
some students had left Bowdoin because of the want of apparatus, 
others were planning to do so ; and, with the approval of the Presi- 
dent, Professors Brackett and Goodale borrowed four thousand five 
hundred dollars themselves and bought apparatus ; and, on account 
of the special circumstances, the Boards voted that the college should 
assume the debt. 

Whether this and other purchases were always made to the best 
advantage is doubtful. In 1874 Professor Carmichael stated that 
apparatus was bought at the last minute, in the most expensive 
market in the world, the American ; and that it soon became obsolete. 
He expressed the opinion that it would be cheaper to borrow money 
and buy in a different manner. He told the Visiting Committee that, 
in the past year, nine hundred and thirty dollars had been paid for 
chemicals which could have been obtained in Germany for two hun- 
dred and fifty dollars ; that one hundred dollars was paid for repair- 
ing a pump when a new one could have been bought in Germany for 



164 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

the same price. But the Germans were not wholly satisfactory. In 
1878 Professor Carmichael reported that they were slow in forward- 
ing correct and authenticated bills. Another complaint, however, 
would indicate that their dilatoriness was of little practical im- 
portance. Professor Carmichael said that for five years the Boards 
had made no appropriations for his department, and that "So far as 
our library is concerned we have hardly more means of following the 
advance of progressive sciences than a citizen of Patagonia. Standard 
works and periodicals are pressingly needed by both students and 
instructors." 

The system of teaching science by means of textbooks and lectures 
was greatly modified. In 1867 Professor Brack ett reported that he 
had given his class the choice of spending the last part of the year in 
reviewing the textbook or in laboratory work ; and that they had 
elected the latter, to their great profit. In 1870 the lectures in 
chemistry were given to the Seniors and to the medical students 
separately; the needs of each class were thus better met, for many 
of the Medics were entirely ignorant of chemistry, and the Seniors 
found the course a mere repetition of what they had taken in Junior 
year. In 1871 Professor Brack ett stated in his report that the 
rapid advance in chemical knowledge had made textbooks in a large 
degree obsolete and suitable only for reference ; and that he believed 
that the result had been the "development of a method of study and a 
zeal for its prosecution not otherwise obtainable." 

During this administration there were numerous changes in the 
science Faculty. In 1873 Professors Goodale and Brackett accepted 
calls to Harvard and Princeton respectively. In reporting this loss 
President Chamberlain took comfort in the thought that "we are 
favored in the fact that the high reputation of the College can still 
draw first class men here if the salaries forbid them to stay." Bowdoin 
has often been obliged to content herself with this solace ! 

The Visiting Committee advised the establishment of a chair of bot- 
any, zoology, geology and comparative anatomy, and the choice of 
Professor Charles H. White of the University of Iowa to fill it. The 
professorship was created, and Mr. White appointed; but the selec- 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 165 

tion proved unfortunate. He did, indeed, appreciate certain special 
opportunities which Brunswick afforded, reporting at the close of his 
first year, "I have taken some advantage of our very superior facili- 
ties for sea-side scientific studies, the success of which warrants the 
suggestion that provision be made for the annual improvement of 
those advantages, by the whole scientific division of the college." The 
Professor was, however, dissatisfied with his situation, claiming that 
the college had not fulfilled promises which had been made him 
by the President. The authorities, on their part, were dissatisfied 
with Professor White ; and the next year he was given to understand 
that he must leave. 

At the same time that Professor White was appointed the Boards 
made Henry Carmichael Professor of Chemistry and Physics. Mr. 
Carmichael was also obliged to resign, but only after twelve years of 
service, which in many respects was successful. The Bugle said of his 
resignation: "No Bowdoin man can but regret the loss of such an 
excellent scholar and able scientist as Professor Carmichael. Few 
institutions could be deprived of such an able instructor and not feel 
the change." 

In 1874 Mr. F. C. Robinson of the class of 1873 was chosen In- 
structor in Analytical Chemistry. In 1875 the Visiting Committee 
reported that he had "conducted with great success the exercises in 
that study, winning the respect and regard of his pupils and manag- 
ing the laboratory with great prudence and economy. It is recom- 
mended that his position and salary be continued." His position 
was continued with a more honorable title and increasing compensa- 
tion until his death in 1910. 

It will be noted that the Committee spoke of Professor Robinson's 
winning the respect and regard of his pupils. This was the distin- 
guishing mark of his career. The Bugle of 1878 said: "Mr. Robinson 
has always been the staunch friend of us all ; his lenity and sociability 
have made him a great favorite ; his ability and studiousness have al- 
ways been recognized, and it is with real hearty feeling of good will 
that we note his advancement to the honors of Professorship." In 
after years, when a college meeting was to be held, undergraduates, 
doubtful if it were worth while to go, would ask if "Prof Rob" were 



166 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

to speak. His interests were by no means confined to college work. 
He Avas frequently consulted as a chemical expert, he was president of 
the National Public Health Association, and he devoted much time to 
scientific investigation. He was also an excellent business man; he 
was specially interested in town affairs, it was largely through his 
efforts that Brunswick obtained her water system, and, like Professor 
William Smyth, he contributed greatly to the improvement of her 
schools. 

The late seventies and the early eighties were marked by a bitter 
feud between Professors Carmichael and Robinson. Professor Car- 
michael was Professor of Chemistry in the Medical School ; Professor 
Robinson held the same position in the college, and each accused the 
other of encroaching on his domain. So fierce was the contest as to 
who should teach mineralogy that one year the course was not given. 
There was also a dispute over the use of laboratories and recitation 
rooms. The Visiting Committee reported that if the two Professors 
could not be reconciled so as to work together for the good of the 
college it would be better that one, or even both, should resign. The 
whole affair was at last referred to a special committee of the Boards 
with directions that both Professors should place their resignations 
in the hands of the arbitrators. These gentlemen decided in favor of 
Professor Robinson, and Professor Carmichael was obliged to go. 
Mr. Carmichael did not resume teaching but became a consulting ex- 
pert, and gained both reputation and a handsome income in his new 
profession. It is pleasant to learn that in after years the breach be- 
tween these two able and worthy men was healed. 

Professor White was succeeded for one year by Mr. George L. 
Chandler of the class of 1868, and then by another of the professors 
notable in Bowdoin history for length of service and for the high 
regard in which he was held, Leslie Alexander Lee. Mr. Lee was 
born September 24, 1852, at Woodstock, Vermont, he graduated 
from St. Lawrence University, taught at Dean Academy for a year, 
and then came to Bowdoin as Instructor. At the end of his first 
year the Visiting Committee stated that they had received from him 
quite a minute report, "from which we infer that he has been en- 
thusiastic and efficient, and this view is wholly corroborated by 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 167 

very positive testimony of other members of the Faculty. He is a 
new man here, young, of great energy and promise, and should be 
retained." He was retained ; and he spent his life in loyal service to 
the college and in the enjoyment of the special affection of the under- 
graduates. A student who had failed in Biology went to him in great 
anger; on coming out he said: "Well, I'm still flunked but Pink 
(Professor Lee was popularly known as Pink, or Pinkie) is the finest 
man I ever knew." It was once said, and the statement was made by a 
man who ought to know, that "a man might respect Mr. Lee, he 
might enjoy Mr. Lee, he might even love Mr. Lee, but the man who 
came to Mr. Lee filled with trouble, was the only man who knew what 
a real trump Mr. Lee was." After his death an article in the Bugle, 
apparently written by an older man, said: "Neither as an investi- 
gator, thinker, or teacher was he a great man as the world commonly 
reckons greatness. He was too human for that. He loved human 
companionship too much to be willing to undergo the necessary iso- 
lation. He preferred the reputation of greatheartedness to that of 
great mindedness. And in this, he chose what the world needs most ; 
and we who knew him are glad he made the choice. And those who 
knew him best are sure that it was a deliberate choice. 

"And what a great hearted man he was ! How his sympathies went 
out to students, townsmen, and to that wider and ever widening circle 
of friends he was attaching to himself constantly. 

"But if not great as an investigator, he knew what was being done 
by others, if not great as a thinker, he knew and loved the greatest 
thoughts ; and if posterity will not rank him as one of the world's 
great teachers, his pupils will never forget the gracious influence 
which went out from his class room. 

"He had the reputation of being the best informed man on natural 
history in the State of Maine; and he got that reputation not by 
looking wise and acting superior but by freely giving out his knowl- 
edge to all." 

The Faculty Minute adopted on his death says much the same 
thing, in more elevated language, and perhaps does greater justice 
to Professor Lee's work as a scholar. It describes him as "A gifted, 
conscientious and tireless investigator, a wise and ever sympathetic 



168 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

sharer of his wealth of learning and experience, a gentleman fearless 
in his advocacy of the right and the pure, a brave soul and a true 
friend." 

Mention should also be made of the work of Ernest S. Morse, Pro- 
fessor of Comparative Anatomy and Zoology from 1870 to 1874. 
The Orient of 1873 said that his lectures to the Juniors on natural 
history were so interesting that many Seniors took them a second 
time. 9 

One of the most unpopular requirements in the old college curric- 
ulum was the compelling men with little or no mathematical ability 
to study mathematics. In 1878 the Faculty on their own responsi- 
bility gave some relief by allowing the Sophomores an option be- 
tween analytical geometry and calculus, and Greek and Latin. 

The Professor of Mathematics in his annual report explained the 
reasons for the change. He said that they were (1) "The conviction 
that it was not well to oblige those who have a distaste for mathe- 
matics to study Analytical Geometry especially as electives are the 
order of the day in colleges around us and are proving very attrac- 
tive to young men (2) the difficulty in bringing the two departments 
[classical and scientific] together in the same recitations (3) the 
fact that establishing an election allowed of extension [s«c] and 
improvement in the Latin and Greek courses, advantages which are 
and will be [enjoyed] by the great majority of any class, since 
comparatively few can be expected to take advanced mathematics." 
The Visiting Committee, however, seem not only to have disapproved 
of the change, but to have disbelieved in the right of the Faculty to 
make it. It said in its report that the college laws required that the 
classical course should be such as was usually given in the leading 
American colleges, but they ironically acknowledged "That in one 
or two of those colleges which assume to be Universities, it is claimed 
that young gentlemen of seventeen or eighteen years of age are ca- 
pable of deciding wisely whether a thorough mathematical training 
is or is not essential to their proper education, and have accordingly 
made these same parts of the mathematical course elective." 

9 Professor Morse lived for half a century after leaving Bowdoin, but he kept 
his interest in her and remembered her in his will. 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 169 

The Committee said that it believed that the change at Bowdoin 
was due to the physical impossibility of giving a full mathematical 
course to both the classical and scientific departments ; 10 that it was 
confident that the Faculty had acted in good faith, and, since that 
body had authority over details, that the change might be within its 
jurisdiction; but the committee added that in its opinion the altera- 
tion affected fundamentals and required the consent of the Boards. 
That the change was popular there could be little doubt ; of twenty- 
three Sophomores in the classical course, only three elected mathe- 
matics. 

Old Professor Smith died in 1868. He was succeeded by Charles 
Rockwood, a graduate of Yale, who served five years, then went to 
Rutgers for four years, and to Princeton for eighteen, when he be- 
came Professor Emeritus. Professor Rockwood's successor was 
Charles Henry Smith, also a graduate of Yale. He was popularly 
known as "Co-Sine," and in some respects resembled his namesake 
and predecessor, Smyth, '22. He was intensely interested in his 
subject and could communicate some of that interest to others. The 
Examining Committee of 1881 said "Professor Smith succeeds in 
awakening the zeal if not the enthusiasm of the young men for a 
study which has often been one of the least attractive for college 
students. He is getting his pupils out of the idea that mathematics 
is a dead science in which no progress is to be expected. So he keeps 
his own freshness and that of his pupils." 

When Professor Smith accepted the chair of History and there- 
fore was obliged to relinquish the teaching of mathematics, his place 
was taken by a gentleman known to official documents as William 
A. Moody but to nearly fifty classes of Bowdoin men as "Buck." 
Mr. Moody was born at Kennebunk on July 31, 1859. He graduated 
from Bowdoin in 1882 where he distinguished himself by taking the 
Smyth mathematical prize. In 1884 he was appointed Tutor in 
Mathematics, in 1887 Instructor and in 1888 Professor. In 1926 
he withdrew from active service and became Professor Emeritus, the 
first professor to receive that title at Bowdoin since Professor Up- 
ham fifty-nine years before. To most collegians mathematics is a 

10 Presumably because the college had only a few recitation rooms. 



170 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

word of power and of fear and the instructor, and ranker, is most 
awe-inspiring. Professor Moody, like his predecessor, Ferox Smyth, 
was resolved that the students should perform the work assigned 
them and Buck became a tradition of terror. Someone wrote on the 
narrow strip of blackboard over the high doorway of his recitation 
room the inscription which Dante tells us was carved over the gates 
of Hell : 

Leave every hope behind, ye who go in. 

A Bowdoin man who was severely wounded in the World War 
said at a Bowdoin dinner that as he saw men falling all around him 
and knew that his own turn must come he thought of Buck's recita- 
tion room. But the students respected and even liked Professor 
Moody, their attitude somewhat resembled that of the English school- 
boy who wrote "The new teacher is a beast but he is a just beast," 
and some who, to their own surprise, passed the course may have 
felt that Professor Moody was not merely a just but a most benev- 
olent man. 

During the period covered by this chapter there were several changes 
in the occupants of the classical professorships. In 1865 Professor 
Packard resigned the chair of Ancient Languages ; he was suc- 
ceeded by Reverend Jotham B. Sewall, who taught at Bowdoin for 
twelve years. Professor Sewall seems to have appreciated the human 
side of his subject, for in 1869 he obtained from the Boards an 
appropriation of $59.76 for the purchase of maps illustrating 
ancient history. In 1871 Mr. Henry L. Chapman was appointed 
Tutor of Latin, and in 1872 Professor. He served until 1875, when 
he took charge of the English Department. He was succeeded for 
one year by Abner Harrison Davis. In 1876 a committee that had 
been appointed to recommend a candidate for the Latin Professor- 
ship reported that because of the financial condition of the college 
it was not prepared to do so ; but added that it might alleviate the 
sorrow of the Boards to know that the Professor's duties were ex- 
tremely light. The committee stated that there were nine and a half 
recitation hours a week in Latin and eleven in Greek ; that part of 
the work was done by a Tutor; and it suggested that unless there 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 171 

were an increase in the college income it might be well to unite the 
Greek and Latin Professorships, as had been done in earlier years. 

Mr. Charles H. Moore had acted as Tutor, and the committee 
recommended that he be made Professor with a salary of only eleven 
hundred dollars a year, although a regular Professor's salary was 
seventeen hundred ; but he was merely given an instructorship with a 
salary of one thousand a year. He held the position for a year and 
then resigned. He was succeeded by Samuel Valentine Cole, later 
Vice President of the Board of Trustees, and President of Wheaton 
College, who served for four years. Between 1878 and 1880, both 
inclusive, Mr. Henry Winkley of Philadelphia gave sums amounting 
to forty thousand dollars to endow a chair of Latin at Bowdoin. 
The first occupants were John Henry Wheeler for one year and 
George T. Little for three. 

There was little change in the authors studied in this period. In 
the summer term of 1867 the Freshmen, who had formerly read 
Cicero's De Senectute, were given the Odes of Horace, with good re- 
sults. 

The Greek Professorship experienced no such fluctuations as the 
Latin. When Professor Sewall resigned in 1877 he was succeeded 
by John Avery, Amherst '61. Professor Avery had taught Greek 
and Latin at Iowa College before coming to Bowdoin, and he was 
disappointed by the low standards of scholarship and industry which 
he found there. He said in his first report that many students had 
been admitted with insufficient preparation and required much drill 
in the elements, and that "The bidding for students with other col- 
leges of the State has a most disastrous effect on the standard of 
scholarship in this college. The argument is constantly ringing in 
our ears, 'Be careful how you reject students lest they enter some 
other college.' I am confident that in the long run the college which 
affords the best education will attract the most students. In my 
department I am resolved to insist upon the complete performance of 
the preparatory work required in the catalogue, and I hope that 
before long it will seem practicable to the Boards to increase the 
amount of work required for admission until it has reached the level 



172 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

of the best New England colleges." Professor Avery also thought 
that many students were injuring themselves in every way by petty 
dissipations. There was probably ground for these criticisms. Bow- 
doin drew most of her students from Maine, a scantily populated, ru- 
ral state ; and many boys from the country towns may have had a poor 
fit in Greek and Latin. Of idleness while in college there is independent 
evidence. About the time of Professor Avery's report Rev. Dr. 
Fiske of Bath wrote to Mr. Putnam: "I think as a general rule our 
students will bear a little more crowding in studies, and Professor 
Avery is doing good service in this direction." On the other hand 
Professor Avery, himself, may have been to blame if his students 
manifested little interest in their work. A former pupil told the 
author that he had been through Edipus the King under Avery, 
without the Professor showing the slightest recognition of the fact 
that the play was great literature. Inquiry of two other alumni 
brought similar replies. 

Under President Chamberlain the modern languages maintained 
and even strengthened their position. From 1862 to 1876 the in- 
struction in this subject was in charge of Stephen J. Young of the 
class of 1859. Mr. Young was a scholarly and efficient teacher, 11 a 
man of keen intelligence, and of unquestioned honor. In 1876 he 
became Treasurer of the college and rendered excellent service in that 
capacity until his death in 1895. From 1863 to 1869 he was also 
Librarian. His report of his work in 1871, expressed with charac- 
teristic frankness and humor, should doubtless stand, mutatis mu- 
tandis, for his whole work, and for that of the majority of the Pro- 
fessors. He said that he had given the usual instruction in German, 
French, Italian and Spanish, "with the usual success of teachers in 
my department. Some have learned a good deal, others remarkably 
little, but I do not take the blame myself. I have tried to do well by 
all." It will be noticed that Professor Young speaks of Spanish and 
Italian. Courses in these languages were given at Bowdoin from 
time to time. In 1870, on the recommendation of Professor Young, 

11 It was said of him after his death that "He was one of the most accomplished 
linguists and philologists in New England. His knowledge of French and Ger- 
man was most complete, but he was master of the grammar of twenty-eight 
different languages and was a proficient Hebrew scholar." 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 173 

concurred in by the Faculty and the Visiting Committee, the Boards 
reversed the position in the curriculum hitherto held by these lan- 
guages, moving Italian from the Senior to the Junior year and 
Spanish from the Junior to the Senior. Professor Young said that 
many undergraduates liked Italian, but that few really cared for 
Spanish ; and that Italian was neglected because it came so late in 
the course. 

Professor Young was succeeded in the department of Modern 
Languages by Mr. C. C. Springer of the class of '74 and then by 
Mr. Henry Johnson of the same class who served as Instructor and 
Professor until his death in 1918. Mr. Johnson was born in Gar- 
diner on June 25, 1855. He fitted for college at Andover Academy, 
and after his graduation from Bowdoin studied in Germany. At 
Bowdoin he not only taught, but served as Librarian for five years 
and as Curator of the Art Collections for over thirty. He was at 
times on leave, but President Sills said in an address after Professor 
Johnson's death, "His periods of absence were really devoted to the 
College as they were spent in preparation for his academic tasks 
and in research. In 1884 he took his degree of Doctor of Philosophy 
at the University of Berlin — a very distinguished performance in 
those days. I remember hearing from one of America's foremost 
scholars, at that time studying in Germany, what a deep impression 
was made when it became known that the young Bowdoin instructor 
had won what was then possibly the most difficult degree to obtain 
in Germany." 

Professor Johnson was a man of deeply religious nature, of true 
Christian charity and of high ideals to which his life conformed. 
With him scholarship was a matter of honor and conscience and 
the extent and accuracy of his information won the admiration of 
highly qualified specialists in fields of learning widely divergent from 
each other. Professor Johnson edited Schiller's ballads and Shake- 
speare's Midsummer Night's Dream, published two volumes of orig- 
inal poems and translated Heredia's sonnets. But his literary 
masterpiece was a translation of Dante's Divine Comedy on which 
he worked for twenty-three years. A great Italian scholar said of 
the book, ". . . this version seems to me truly excellent and it has 



174 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

never happened to me in reading the Commedia translated into any 
language whatsoever that the original echoed constantly in my ear 
the way that it does here." 

As a teacher Professor Johnson won the respect and affection of 
the students ; but many of them may have been pricked in conscience 
later by thought of the pain which they must have caused him. A 
man of the most delicate feelings, with the scholar's love of accuracy 
and the artist's delight in and reverence for beauty Professor John- 
son was obliged to teach freshmen who cared little about either. Yet he 
treated them with punctilious courtesy. No matter how stumbling 
and bad a recitation a pupil made, Professor Johnson's mode of 
putting an end to their mutual agony was to say "that is well." 
He knew that he must make allowance for youth. On one occasion 
when he had with some difficulty quieted a disturbance in the class 
room, he said, "I won't say anything to you now, I can't trust my- 
self." At the close of the recitation the class waited for the thunder 
but none came. The Professor merely said, "I guess I won't say any- 
thing to you at all, only," and the tone became slightly pleading, 
"try to grow up as fast as you can." 

The modern languages had had a hard fight to maintain their 
position, but rhetoric and oratory had long been highly regarded and 
the members of the Boards were true to their old love. In 1867 Mr. 
John Smith Sewall of the class of 1850 was chosen Professor of 
Rhetoric and Oratory, and the next year the words "and of English 
Literature" were added to his title. In 1871 Mr. James Brainerd 
Taylor, a graduate of Harvard, was elected Provisional Professor 
of Elocution and Oratory. He was also employed by the state to 
give instruction for brief periods at the state college and the normal 
school. In 1873 the Visiting Committee reported that Mr. Taylor's 
salary was more than the college could afford to pay and he was not 
re-engaged. His training, however, had been valuable and of the 
kind that is now desired from professors of elocution. President 
Chamberlain said of Mr. Taylor, "His best work was where it was 
most needed, in the direction of common delivery, reading, and un- 
impassioned discourse." 

In his report of 1874 Professor Sewall stated that he had heard 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 175 

no declamations the past year and asked that the word oratory be 
dropped from the title of his professorship. But the Visiting Com- 
mittee, while expressing appreciation of the sense of honor shown by 
Professor Sewall's request, recommended that it be not granted. 
The Committee said that Professor Sewall had done some work in 
oratory and that until further instruction could be provided in that 
branch it believed that no change should be made in Professor Sew- 
all's title. The Committee added, "It may console you to know that 
several colleges including Harvard are giving no more attention to 
elocution than ourselves." 

Apparently the instruction in both rhetoric and literature was 
deficient. In his report for 1872 President Chamberlain said, "It is 
a shame that educated men should swell the crowd that is corrupt- 
ing the noble idiom of English speech. If the college could do 
nothing else it should teach men to reverence and preserve the lan- 
guage which is not only a sacred legacy from the fathers, but is 
potent with the spirit that is to enfranchise and regenerate man- 
kind." 

Professor Sewall did some work in English Literature. For a 
part of one year he gave, with much success, a voluntary extra 
course in Macbeth, the play was read in class and at the close of 
the course each member read a report on some special topic. But 
there was no opportunity for a full regular course of this kind. The 
Orient expressed itself most vigorously on the deficiency. It said 
that it was a shame for men who were supposed to be acquiring a 
good English style to spend time ponying out Homer, Virgil and 
Co., and to give no attention to Shakespeare and Milton. 

In 1875 Professor Sewall accepted a call to the Bangor Theologi- 
cal Seminary where he remained as Professor and Professor Emeri- 
tus of Sacred Rhetoric until his death in 1911. Professor Sewall 
was a man of noble nature and commanded in a high degree the 
esteem and affection of all who knew him. 

Professor Sewall was succeeded in his professorship at Bowdoin 
by Professor Henry Leland Chapman. Professor Chapman was 
born at Bethel on July 26, 1845. He graduated from Bowdoin in 
1866. While in college he was a member of Phi Chi, of the baseball 



176 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

team and of Phi Beta Kappa. He went through Bangor Theologi- 
cal Seminary ; immediately after his graduation he was called to 
Bowdoin and he remained there as Tutor, Instructor and Professor 
until his death in 1913. His early teaching was chiefly in Latin and 
Logic. The Visiting Committee reported that while a good teacher 
of Latin, his best work was done in Logic, that here his mind seemed 
to play in the right direction. But to his pupils of later years it 
would seem that his true throne was the chair of Literature. His 
knowledge of the subject was broad and his judgment keen. His 
own style was rich and beautiful. He was a fine interpretative 
reader and his power was not limited to one type of literature. He 
was equally successful in making his hearers feel the high courage 
and honor of Tennyson's Revenge, the quiet pathos of the Iron Gate, 
which he read to his class at the time of Dr. Holmes's death, and the 
feminine spite of Regan and Goneril in Lear. 

Professor Chapman's manners were those of a courtly gentleman 
of the old school. On one occasion a student fell asleep at a 
lecture and had to be roused. At the close of the hour he went to 
the desk to make an apology but the Professor almost made one 
himself, saying, "I was sorry to wake you but you were disturbing 
the class." Yet, "the velvet scabbard held a sword of steel." Dur- 
ing Professor Chapman's earlier years, the sword was much in evi- 
dence, for he waged fierce war against hazing ; and thereby rendered 
himself very unpopular with many of the students. And even during 
his later and gentler days, if a student thought that he could trick 
or bluff his courteous teacher into changing a D to a C, he quickly 
discovered his error. Professor Chapman resembled President 
Woods in some respects and one of them was indulgence in what 
appeared to be a certain indolence. Had Professor Chapman been 
President of Bowdoin, he would not have shirked the delivery of 
baccalaureate sermons, but would have made them things of beauty 
worth travelling miles to hear. But for many years he gave only 
one full course in English Literature, which hardly seemed putting 
his talents to their proper use. 

Professor Chapman required a strict adherence to the text-book. 
If a student said, "I think," there would come the gentle but em- 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 177 

barrassing question, "What does the author say?" Probably the 
author's views were much more valuable than those of an under- 
graduate; but it is well for a student, at times, to make an inde- 
pendent use of his own brains, even though the result may not tend 
to the elucidation of the subject. 

Professor Chapman, like his predecessor, found himself assigned 
more work than one man could properly perform. In 1881 he told 
the Visiting Committee that his theme work occupied a great deal 
of time, that when he was a student the only instruction given in 
speaking by the professor of rhetoric was a four weeks' course for 
the Sophomores, but that now much more time was required. Pro- 
fessor Chapman said also that other colleges were giving more at- 
tention to the claims of English Literature and that "the neighbor- 
ing institution at Waterville, Colby University, has made far better 
provision for such instruction than has been done in this college." 
The Professor therefore asked for a division of his department. 
But the Visiting Committee stated that they were glad Professor 
Chapman was doing more work on the students' themes and that 
they sympathized with his wish for a division of the department, but 
that on account of the low state of the college finances they could 
only advise the employment of an assistant for rhetoric and oratory. 
In 1882 Mr. Charles T. Hawes, '76, was appointed Instructor in 
Rhetoric. Mr. Charles H. Cutler, '81, also gave some assistance 
and Professor Chapman was able to offer a full year's course in 
English Literature. 

With the demand for a course in English Literature there came 
also a call for instruction in History. The Orient regretted that 
two hours a week were given to Parliamentary Law when there was 
no course in Hygiene, Zoology or Modern History. Professor Avery 
advised that one hour a week throughout the course be given to 
History. He said, "Experience and observation have led me to think 
that most students graduate from college hideously ignorant of 
history." In 1878 the Boards requested the Faculty to prepare a 
suitable course of reading in English and United States History 
for the students and give them an examination at the end of the 
year. This was done, but the next year President Chamberlain re- 



178 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

ported that the work was insufficient. He advised that the Fresh- 
men read Oriental and Classical History, the Sophomores Mediae- 
val, the Juniors Modern English and American, and that lectures on 
current events be given to the Seniors. He also advised that the 
classes meet the instructor once a week and that they be examined 
at the end of each term. The Boards accepted the recommendation 
and the work was done by the President himself. In addition to this 
he gave a course in public law which included international, constitu- 
tional and parliamentary law and President Chamberlain also taught 
economics. His lectures on these subjects were regarded as specially 
valuable and the course was one of the most popular in the college 
curriculum. 

The resignation of Dr. Harris from the Presidency also deprived 
the college of its Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy. The 
chair of Philosophy was considered extremely important because 
many religious men believed that there was great danger from mate- 
rialism. But it seemed impossible to obtain a permanent and satis- 
factory incumbent. Professor Paul A. Chadbourne, the former Sci- 
ence Professor, accepted the place, but after a year's service resigned 
to become President of Williams. The Boards then elected a clergy- 
man, Rev. Ephraim C. Cummings of the class of 1853. Mr. Cum- 
mings was a worthy man but many years had passed since he had 
taught or had given much attention to philosophy and in spite of 
earnest effort he was a failure as a professor, a fact which he himself 
had the good sense to recognize. With his own approval the college 
did not reengage him, and he did not return to teaching or preaching 
but devoted himself to literary work. It is evident that Mr. Cummings 
bore no grudge against his Alma Mater for in 1914 his widow be- 
queathed three thousand dollars to Bowdoin to found a scholarship 
in memory of her husband. 

Mr. Cummings' successor was a far different man, the famous 
Mark Hopkins who had recently resigned the presidency of Williams. 
His service was not for the whole year ; his course began in February, 
but the excellent quality compensated for the lack of quantity. The 
students highly esteemed his lectures and he had in his audience 
clergymen of Brunswick and of Portland. But at the end of the 



PRESIDENTS HARRIS AND CHAMBERLAIN 179 

year the Visiting Committee reported that although Dr. Hopkins' 
services were well worth more than the thousand dollars paid him, 
for financial reasons the course in philosophy should be given by the 
President or by a Professor. Accordingly General Chamberlain 
agreed to carry the burden for a time. He did so for five years and 
then at his earnest request the Boards relieved him and elected a 
permanent professor. The gentleman chosen was George Trum- 
bull Ladd, afterwards one of the foremost psychologists in the 
United States. But though an able thinker and investigator he 
was very minute and technical, too much resembling the learned 
Doctor Dryasdust. He was publicly criticised in the Orient, and 
wrote a reply stating that the best students appreciated his course 
and that it was the lazy men who objected to it. Doubtless there 
was some truth in this, but it was probably for the best that in 1881 
Professor Ladd accepted a call to Yale. He was succeeded by Pro- 
fessor Gabriel Campbell, a graduate of the University of Michigan, 
who came to Bowdoin from the University of Minnesota. He stayed 
two years and then left Bowdoin for Dartmouth, which offered a 
larger salary. Professor Campbell was well liked by the students 
who blamed the Boards for letting him go, alleging that money 
could have been saved from other expenditures and Dartmouth's offer 
matched. Professor Campbell was succeeded by Samuel Gilman 
Brown as Provisional Professor. Dr. Brown had taught at Dart- 
mouth for twenty-nine years and had been President of Hamilton 
for fourteen. Like his predecessor he taught for two years at Bow- 
doin and gave satisfaction. 

In 1883 President Chamberlain rather suddenly resigned. He 
was blamed by many of the alumni for the decrease in the number of 
students consequent on the failure of the scientific department and 
he had offended some of the ultra-Congregationalists. A wound 
received during the Civil War gave him much trouble and at times 
rendered him unable to perform the duties of his office. He had 
also become much interested in the development of Florida. The 
Boards accepted his resignation with complimentary resolutions, 
asked him to sit for his portrait, and also requested him to remain 
on the Faculty as lecturer on political economy and constitutional and 



180 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

international law. General Chamberlain's investments in Florida 
proved unfortunate. He served as President of the Institute of 
Arts in New York City and in 1900 was appointed Surveyor of 
Customs at Portland and retained the position until his death in 
1914. 



CHAPTER VI 

ADMINISTRATIONS OF PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 



THE resignation of President Chamberlain was followed by a two 
years' interregnum, most of the duties of the presidency being 
performed by Professor Chapman who was made Dean of the Faculty, 
for that purpose. Probably the delay in electing a president was 
due in part to differences of opinion among the Trustees, Overseers 
and alumni and in part to a feeling that the prosperity, if not the 
very existence of the college, depended on the finding of the right 
man. The matter was discussed with some care and earnestness at 
a dinner of the Alumni of Washington City. Llewellyn Deane of 
the class of 1849 declared that it would be good policy from a busi- 
ness point of view to pay any salary to secure a man with the proper 
qualifications, that he would favor giving ten thousand a year if 
necessary (probably a larger salary than was paid by any institu- 
tion of learning) and call on the alumni to make the promise good. 
Unfortunately there was mixed with this loyalty the old denomina- 
tionalism. Mr. Deane said "that in the selection of the new Presi- 
dent there should be found not only a wise and learned gentleman 
but one distinctively religious and holding the confidence of the 
churches." Senator Frye, who was credited with making the speech 
of the evening, said that he agreed with Mr. Deane, that "he wanted 
to see a religious man as President of the college; that he did not 
like the Unitarian drift that the college had been taking for the past 
twenty years and believed in the good old Presbyterian doctrines." 
The Association appointed a committee consisting of Mr. Deane 
and of Messrs. Sewall, '46, and Alexander, '70, to correspond with the 
Trustees and Overseers and with the other alumni. They must have 
found much difference of opinion. Many of the Overseers felt that 



182 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

there was no need of going abroad to seek a President, that the col- 
lege would be wise if it gave the position to the man who was al- 
ready doing the work of the office, Dean Chapman. It was said 
that many alumni who had formerly opposed such action now fa- 
vored it. On the other hand there were objections of considerable 
weight. Professor Chapman's vigorous effort to put down hazing 
had offended many. Moreover, Mr. Chapman was on the verge of 
forty, he was by nature conservative and there was a strong feeling 
that the new President should be young and "advanced." General 
Chamberlain's health had improved and some wished that he be 
earnestly requested to reassume his former office. It is said that an 
informal offer was made to Professor Garman of Amherst but that 
he declined. At last, after two years' meditation, the Boards found 
their man, Rev. William DeWitt Hyde, a graduate of Harvard of 
the class of 1879, of Andover Seminary in 1882, and pastor of the 
Congregationalist Church in Paterson, New Jersey. Those who de- 
sired a young President must have been gratified. Mr. Hyde was 
not quite twenty-seven, he was said to be the youngest college presi- 
dent in the country, and certainly was the youngest man ever chosen 
to fill that office at Bowdoin. He was also the least known. But 
he had shown great promise and had excellent sponsors. At Har- 
vard he was one of eight students in a class of almost two hundred 
who made Phi Beta Kappa. He had been president of the Signet 
Literary Society and of the Christian Brothers and was the founder 
of the Harvard Philosophical Club. His relations with Professor 
Palmer had been peculiarly close and their mutual esteem and affec- 
tion proved lifelong. Probably an even more effective champion of the 
election of the Paterson minister was Professor Egbert C. Smyth of 
Andover Seminary, then a Trustee. It is said that the other mem- 
bers of the Boards, absorbed in their life-work, gave little attention 
to college affairs except when they met at Commencement, but that 
Professor Smyth remained in touch with Bowdoin throughout the 
year and that his opinion had great weight with the Boards because 
they knew that it was based on a thorough knowledge of facts. 

These and other considerations proved so persuasive with the 
Boards that the election was unanimous. It is probable that there 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 183 

was an understanding that the new President should decline all 
future calls and devote his life to Bowdoin. Later there were ru- 
mors of intended resignation, but they remained rumors only and 
Mr. Hyde remained President of Bowdoin for thirty-two years, dy- 
ing in harness on June 29, 1917. The end, perhaps, was hastened 
by fear of the effect of the war on the college he had built up and 
the emotional strain of seeing so many young men leaving Bowdoin 
not for happy and useful life but for untimely though honorable 
death. 1 

With the election of a President of Bowdoin the anomalous posi- 
tion of Dean of the Faculty ceased to exist. The Faculty recognized 
the tact and ability with which it had been filled by passing the fol- 
lowing vote : "Resolved, that we hereby express to Professor Chap- 
man our cordial appreciation of the manner in which he has served 
the college as its chief executive officer during the past two years. 
During the first of these years it was his duty and his pleasure to 
relieve our beloved Dr. Packard from the actual weight of burdens 
which could not have been borne alone ; and so well did he discharge 
his trust that the closing year of that long and honored life was one 
of rest and freedom from official care. 

"During the past year he has been head of the college in all but 
name, a position involving peculiar difficulties, yet one which his 
prudence, tact, and never failing courtesy have enabled him to fill 
with distinguished success. 

"As his associates we extend our hearty thanks for the wise and 
gentlemanly leadership with which he has honored and helped us, 
especially for the thoughtful and conscientious attention to details 
of administration which has made these two years a season for rare 
opportunity for us to pursue uninterruptedly our work as teachers." 

The new President was received cordially and made a favorable 
impression. The Orient said of him: "Although comparatively a 
young man he is very highly recommended as a zealous student; of 
wonderful executive ability, and one of the deepest thinkers of his 
age. President-elect Hyde is said to be much interested in athletics, 

1 For an account of President Hyde's character and work the reader is re- 
ferred to addresses distributed among the alumni after his death and to the biog- 
raphy of him now being written by Professor Burnett. 



184 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

which will be pleasing news to the younger alumni and to the under- 
graduates." The Bugle said: "With this year has come our ex- 
pected President, and the satisfaction with which he has been re- 
ceived by us all is a very plain intimation of his future success. We 
have in him a man, who while thoroughly alive to the high trust 
placed in his hands, and deeply conscious that mental training can- 
not be too carefully pushed on, is not so deeply wrapped up in the 
vapors of scholastic profundity as to overlook the fact that winning 
the boys' hearts is the surest way to direct them with ease. It is 
fortunate for Bowdoin that she has in her presidential chair a young 
man. With those instructors which she now has, men of large ex- 
perience and approved judgment, this infusion of youthful blood 
well charged with the spirit of the present day, has given an impetus 
to College life which may well be a cause for congratulation." Pro- 
fessor C. F. Smith expressed a like opinion, but noted also Mr. 
Hyde's caution. He said : "We believe that Old Bowdoin will renew 
her youth in that of her President, but in no revolutionary way, for 
he has evidently come with the sensible determination to start with 
things as he finds them, and make changes gradually as the wisdom 
of their introduction becomes evident." A few years later the Bugle 
had a cartoon of the Faculty of a somewhat uncomplimentary na- 
ture, but to the President it gave a halo with the inscription, 
"Twenty years ahead of his time, but he gets there just the same." 

About the same time a gentleman reported that he had found Presi- 
dent Hyde truly orthodox and liberal. These terms "orthodox" and 
"liberal" well describe the President's attitude on the vexed question 
of denominationalism. The President was not formally installed until 
the Commencement after his election when he had held office for a 
year. In his inaugural address he said that it was obviously fitting 
that a college should be under the religious control of one denomi- 
nation, that all concerned in the government of Bowdoin admitted 
that in this sense Bowdoin belonged to the Congregationalists, and 
that the religious teaching of the college should be positively evan- 
gelical, but the President added that controversial attacks on other 
denominations should be avoided and that there should be no prose- 
lyting, but that each student should be encouraged to live consistent- 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 185 

ly "in the form of faith which parental example and early association 
has hallowed and made sacred." Such a policy may have been 
satisfactory to Mr. Deane and his friends, but it was not to the lib- 
erals, and Henry V. Poor 2 of the class of 1835 published a vigorous 
letter in which he denounced the binding of a college to any teach- 
ing, declared that if Bowdoin was to escape from the narrowness 
that was dooming her to inefficiency she must renounce dogma, asked 
what was meant by evangelical teaching and declared that many 
preachers were playing the part of hypocrites, that they disbelieved 
in the old evangelicalism but dared not say so. Mr. Poor's seed fell 
at first on stony ground, but the bonds of denominationalism relaxed 
little by little and when Andrew Carnegie gave his endowment for 
pensioning professors in undenominational colleges, Bowdoin, under 
the leadership of President Hyde, cut every formal connection with 
the Congregationalist church, and on the President's death chose 
as his successor an Episcopalian. 

From the first President Hyde was obliged to face the question of 
the maintenance of the old curriculum with the classics and mathe- 
matics as the main subjects. At his inauguration the address of 
investiture was made by Edwin B. Webb, D.D., of the class of 1846. 
Dr. Webb was sixty-five years of age, and was a good representative 
of the elderly, conservative men who constituted the Boards forty 
years ago. Of the curriculum, Dr. Webb said, "The College is not 
the place for specialties. The cry for electives, if heard sooner than 
the third year is heard too soon. The college is to prescribe study 
— study for every student — but more and more persistently what 
to study. Otherwise not symmetry but monstrosity may charac- 
terize the product." The President's reply may have given much 
comfort to men of the old school, but a careful study would have 
shown them that, in certain circumstances, he would consider a 
change proper ; and two years later he recommended one of consider- 
able importance. In his report for 1887 he said that there was too 
little variety in the course at Bowdoin, and too much of a mere con- 
tinuance of the work of the fitting school, that it was only during 
the last year that any science had been given before the Junior year ; 

2 Author of Poor's Manual of the Railroads of the United States. 



186 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

and the President advised that French and German be each begun 
one year earlier, that is in the Freshman and the Sophomore year 
respectively, and that Botany and Physics be moved from the Junior 
to the Sophomore year. The Visiting Committee heartily endorsed 
the proposal and the Boards adopted it. In 1892 the President 
said that half the course was elective, and that it would be unwise, 
at present, to further extend the right of election in college. But 
he also said: "Experience shows that the students, acting with the 
advice of parents and professors, choose much more wisely for them- 
selves than any body of men could choose for them." And he threw 
a veritable bombshell among the Boards by proposing that Greek be 
no longer required for admission to Bowdoin, but that the Faculty 
be allowed to accept in its place a modern language or a science. 
The Faculty, he stated, were unanimously in favor of such a change. 
The President spoke very highly of Greek, saying that "it will al- 
ways be one of the foundation stones of a literary education. The 
most symmetrical education will be impossible without it," but that 
the question was, would the college give as good an education as pos- 
sible to students who could not offer Greek without great incon- 
venience to themselves or their schools. 

The Boards did nothing, but in 1895 the President returned to the 
attack. He said that Williams had changed at the time that he 
made his first recommendation and that every college in New Eng- 
land, except Yale, which had the Sheffield Scientific School, Bates, 
and Colby, had made an alteration in their requirements such as he 
proposed. "A step which was urged three years ago in order to 
keep the college in the front of educational progress is now abso- 
lutely essential to prevent it from falling to the rear. What was 
possibly justifiable then on the ground of reasonable conservatism, 
has now become an obsolete and antiquarian position. What could 
then be defended as a sectional position, supported by the traditions 
of New England against the West, is no longer sectional but pro- 
vincial ; and would array Maine in opposition to the progress of the 
world. Whatever else is done or left undone, this is the main issue 
to be considered at the next meeting of the Boards." 

Very reluctantly the Boards gave way and allowed three years of 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 187 

French or German, or two years of Physics and one of Mathematics 
to be substituted for Greek as an entrance requirement. That year 
the Commencement Dinner suggested a funeral, the public burial of 
Greek. Man after man arose to describe the virtues of the deceased. 
There was but one discordant note. Henry K. White, Bowdoin, '74, 
a thorough Greek scholar and a very successful teacher of the lan- 
guage in the secondary schools, said that there was no more reason 
for requiring Greek for an A.B. than for requiring Sanskrit ; that 
it might be true that art and culture came from Greece, but that art 
and culture could be got where most of the students got their Greek, 
out of a horse. 

The Boards had yielded to necessity, but they still kept their 
colors flying. A man might enter Bowdoin without Greek, but he 
was not to be held worthy of the degree of Bachelor of Arts, the 
proof of high liberal culture, he must be content with being a Bach- 
elor of Literature or a Bachelor of Science. The President made 
little objection to this discrimination, because he knew that it was 
impossible, at that time, to induce the Boards to give the A.B. with- 
out Greek ; and because the question would not be a practical one for 
four years. But in 1899 he earnestly requested the Boards to re- 
consider their action. He said that a large number of colleges 
[114] gave the A.B. without Greek. "The degree of Bachelor of 
Arts stands today as it always has stood for a liberal education. 
Greek is simply one of many studies which are desirable elements of 
a liberal education. These desirable elements are so numerous that 
no one student can take them all. There is no reason why the omis- 
sion of Greek should deprive one of the degree of A.B. when the omis- 
sion of history, or philosophy, or political economy, or biology, or 
physics does not deprive one of that degree. B.L. is distinctly in- 
ferior, B.S. is greatly inferior or superior to the one proposed to 
be given." 3 

The Boards were unmoved, but the President renewed his efforts 
again and again. Once he suggested that if students must be pen- 
alized for not taking Greek, at least they should be given a degree 

3 Many institutions gave the degree of B.S. to students of inferior capacity 
or industry; it was also the regular degree of a few scientific schools who granted 
it only for work of very high quality. 



188 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

of better reputation than that which they now received, and pro- 
posed that they be made Bachelors of Philosophy. At the Com- 
mencement of 1902 the Faculty resolved that as a matter of ex- 
pediency it was necessary to grant the degree of A.B. without Greek, 
and the Boards, at last, voted to do so. 

President Hyde, however, was very anxious that some knowledge 
of the Greek spirit and genius should be acquired by the students, 
and proposed that Freshmen entering without Greek be required to 
take a course in Greek Literature. The Faculty referred the mat- 
ter to a committee who reported that the proposed course would re- 
store compulsory Greek in another form, and that Freshmen were not 
sufficiently prepared to take advantage of it ; but the committee 
said that it would approve an elective in Greek Literature for Jun- 
iors and Seniors. The committee also stated that it was not op- 
posed to more studies in Freshman year, but that they should be 
elective, as should some then required. 

There was a question not only of whether Greek should be com- 
pulsory, but whether it should be wrestled with as a series of prob- 
lems in philology, or read as literature, great in thought and ex- 
pression. When President Hyde took office Greek was still taught 
by Professor Avery. Mr. Avery was a thorough scholar, with high 
ideals, and an appreciation of the value of Greek civilization, but in 
the classroom he was almost entirely the grammarian. At least a 
partial explanation of this narrowness may be found in the fact that 
Professor Avery was primarily a Sanskrit rather than a Greek 
specialist. The Indian language was the object of his life-long de- 
votion, and, in 1887, having saved a modest competence, which would 
enable him to give his whole time to this non-lucrative subject, he 
resigned his professorship at Bowdoin. Then came one of those 
tragedies that occasionally blast, and seem to render useless the 
whole life of a scholar. At Commencement the Boards reluctantly 
accepted Professor Avery's resignation, passed complimentary reso- 
lutions, and conferred on him the degree of LL.D. On September 1 
Dr. Avery, not yet fifty years of age, about to devote himself ex- 
clusively to what should have been his life work, and for which he 
had made long and thorough preparation, died. 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 189 

Professor Avery was succeeded by Frank Edward Woodruff. Pro- 
fessor Woodruff was born on March 20, 1855, at Eden, Vermont, 
graduated from the University of Vermont and from Union Theolog- 
ical Seminary, taught, studied abroad for two years, and was elected 
Professor of Sacred Literature at Andover Theological Seminary. 
It was the day of the famous Andover heresy case, when a number 
of professors were accused of teaching doctrines contrary to those 
required by the founders of the seminary, and were obliged to modify 
their action or resign. "No one who knew Professor Woodruff 
could doubt what course he would take. A quiet man, remarkably 
free from ostentation of any kind, he was inflexible in his devotion 
to duty, regardless of the effect which his action might have upon 
his own career." He promptly left Andover and was immediately 
called to Bowdoin, where he taught Greek until his death in 1922. 
His work was thorough and broad. He required the student to 
know his grammar, but sought a rendering of the spirit as well as 
the letter. A class was reading a Greek play in which the King, 
speaking to the chorus of elders, said, "O Andres"; a student ren- 
dered this "Oh men" ; the Professor interrupted him, "How does the 
President address his Cabinet?" "Gentlemen," was the reply. 
"Then translate it so." The Professor's manner of conducting a 
recitation was almost ideal. He neither rushed in at the slightest 
hesitation, taking the words out of the student's mouth, nor allowed 
him to flounder horribly before giving assistance, but extended help 
just when it was needed. 

When the day of change came and Greek literature was studied 
in translation, openly as well as privately, Professor Woodruff did 
not, like many of his brother "Grecians," waste time in vain lamen- 
tations, but frankly accepted the new method. The close of his life 
was active and practical. As a professor, he had seemed an ex- 
ample of the scholar who takes little part in affairs ; he was not 
particularly successful in inspiring enthusiasm in lazy men or in 
those who took Greek because it was required. But, when over 
sixty, he entered vigorously into the woman's suffrage crusade, and 
was sent to the Legislature as a Democrat by the Republican town 
of Brunswick. 



190 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

The Latin chair, during President Hyde's administration, had 
several occupants ; some of whom combined great excellencies with 
grave deficiencies. In 1885 Professor Little resigned the Professor- 
ship of Latin, and for a year the work was done by the Professor of 
Greek and a Tutor. In 1886 the Boards called Ernest Mondell 
Pease to the chair, for one year, evidently as an experiment. At 
the next Commencement President Hyde reported that Professor 
Pease was a thorough scholar, and an enthusiastic teacher, "one 
with whom our relations are in all respects most pleasant," but that 
his discipline was poor; and that it was for the Boards to give this 
point full and fair consideration, and to decide whether he should 
be elected for another year or whether it was expedient to seek a new 
man for the position. The Visiting Committee stated that Mr. 
Pease had done fine work with his classes, and seemed to have got a 
great deal of work out of them ; but that there had been much noise 
and confusion in his recitations, and many "class cuts." The 
Boards took a somewhat more lenient view than the President and 
the Committee, and, although they recognized the bad effect of dis- 
order, continued Professor Pease in office until 1891, when he solved 
the difficulty by resigning. He had received an invitation from Le- 
land Stanford University so favorable for the prosecution of re- 
search work in which he was engaged that he felt obliged to accept 
it ; but he wrote to the Boards that his associations with Bowdoin 
had been so pleasant, and his interests had been so centered in the 
welfare of the college, that he resigned with deep regret. 

President Hyde, discussing the filling of the vacancy, in his annual 
report for 1891, said: "Mr. Pease was one of the foremost scholars 
of the country in technical linguistic attainments. To secure his 
equal in these lines would be impossible. Rather than take a man 
of his type but of inferior attainments, it seems best to take a new 
type of scholar. The literary side of classical study is now coming 
to the front. A man capable of leadership in this movement would 
be a most valuable acquisition both to the efficiency and the reputa- 
tion of the college. Mr. William Cranston Lawton is such a man 
and can be secured." The Boards elected Mr. Lawton but he served 
only one year, and with but partial success. He stimulated and 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 191 

helped his classes, and he had a true appreciation of good literature ; 
but he also had a great deal to say about himself and his work, and 
the students thought him outrageously conceited. Their feeling is 
illustrated by an entry in the Bugle Calendar, "Lawton lectures on 
Aeschylus's Persians, a little about the Persians, mostly about Law- 
ton." In one important particular he was out of harmony with the 
college tradition and sentiment. He missed the feminine element at 
Bowdoin, and said so ; and most of the students, while duly appre- 
ciating the ladies, did not wish the college to become co-educational. 
Perhaps time might have modified the views of the Professor ; but in 
1892 Mr. Lawton received an unexpected offer from Bryn Mawr, 
and though he had come to Bowdoin with the understanding that he 
would regard his position as a permanent one, President Hyde 
thought it inadvisable to hold him to his promise, and the Boards 
accepted his resignation. 

Professor Lawton was succeeded by William Addison Houghton. 
Professor Houghton was a graduate of Yale, of the class of 1873, 
and had taught at various institutions, including the Royal Uni- 
versity at Tokio, Japan, and the College of the City of New York. 
President Sills, who knew him both as instructor and colleague, 
wrote of him at his death : "He was a man of unfailing patience and 
courtesy and of ripe and discriminating scholarship. Particularly 
in his advanced classes did his students feel that they were being 
taught by a man of real intellectual power and true literary taste. 
Those who have read under Professor Houghton the Satires of 
Horace will long gratefully recall the Horatian spirit of the man, 
himself, his gentle if at times quizzical humor; his aptness of 
phrase; his appreciation of the frequently capricious workings of 
fortune or Providence — never very strong in health, and some- 
times hampered by physical infirmity, a little distant and reserved 
in dealing with his classes he always conveyed the impression of an 
unusually fine gentleman and scholar. Bowdoin men who studied 
under him will learn with regret of his death ; and many a busy man 
now approaching middle life will be taken back in memory to the 
classroom in Memorial Hall and will recall some illuminating com- 
ment, too keen perhaps for careless lads at play, but treasured in 



192 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

the mind as coming from a teacher of whom his pupils were fond and 
who was in turn keenly interested in them." 

It will be noted that the President says that Professor Houghton 
was at his best with his advanced classes ; this was undoubtedly true 
and suggests his chief defect as a teacher. Like Proxenos, whom 
his friend Xenophon has described for us in the Anabasis, he was 
able to command well disposed men, but not others. Professor 
Houghton, indeed, made almost no attempt to keep order. He was 
somewhat deaf and was unaware of all that was going on. Moreover, 
he probably thought that if the boys did not choose to avail them- 
selves of their opportunities, it was their affair, not his. But the 
world is not ready for rule by moral suasion merely, whether inter- 
nationally, municipally, or educationally, and abdication of author- 
ity is not fair to the students who are anxious to do good work, or 
even to those whose somewhat feeble inclinations to strive after ex- 
cellence need reinforcement. 

The close of Professor Houghton's career at Bowdoin was un- 
fortunate. President Hyde became firmly convinced that the best 
interests of the college required that Mr. Houghton should leave. 
But the latter considered himself unfairly used and resisted desper- 
ately. He even obtained permission to appear before the Boards 
and read a paper giving his side of the case. The Commencement 
procession waited two hours while the Boards fought the matter out. 
It ended in Professor Houghton refusing a re-election and receiving 
a bonus of a year's salary in appreciation of his faithful and excel- 
lent services, and a recommendation for a pension from the Carnegie 
foundation, although technically he was not entitled to one. 

A matter which caused some difficulty in the teaching of Latin 
during this period was the method of pronunciation. The "Roman" 
way was coming into use, but at Bowdoin the introduction of the 
change was resisted and checked. In 1883 the Examining Com- 
mittee stated that "The committee are not fully prepared to ap- 
preciate the modern method of pronouncing Latin — and they can- 
not see why Kaesar, Kikero, and Superkilious are any better than 
the old way of pronouncing these words." After the report had 
been written, good tidings came and the Committee interlined the 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 193 

cheering news, "Mr. Little does not propose to insist on this style 
of pronunciation." 

In 1886 the Orient said that it understood that Professor Pease 
was using the Roman pronunciation, but that it hoped that he would 
change to the English, "which was that in vogue in all the prepara- 
tory schools and the one which has long been in use in this college." 
The employment of the English method by the fitting schools made 
a later acquisition of the Roman particularly difficult. The Roman 
finally won the day at Bowdoin, but it is to be feared that, during 
the transition period, many a student acquired an individual method, 
which was neither Roman nor English. 

Greek and Latin, after undergoing various vicissitudes, had at 
last become separate subjects under the charge of a full professor. 
Somewhat later French and German received like treatment. 

In 1884 Assistant Professor Atwood, who was in temporary 
charge of the department of Modern Languages, made an earnest 
plea for greater attention to this subject. He said, "The college 
already enjoys a prestige which is lacking to other colleges. The 
Modern Language wave is upon us, and ought not Bowdoin College 
to be on the highest crest? Let it be known that the college makes 
a specialty of that, and it will bring many students to us, who might 
otherwise go elsewhere." Mr. Atwood urged that there be two pro- 
fessors in the department, one teaching the Romance languages and 
the other German ; but the Boards were not yet ready to make the 
change, the college was still poor. 

But from 1888 to 1890 there was a professorship of French, held 
the first year by Benjamin Lester Bowen and the second by John 
Ernst Matzke. Professor Matzke was an able man of the Pease 
type, and became one of the best modern language scholars in 
America. But at Bowdoin he was a failure. He was a philologist 
fitted for investigation and the training of specialists, not for the 
teaching of beginners. Moreover, he was a young man of German 
birth and early education with goose-step ideas and a somewhat im- 
perfect knowledge of English. But Professor Matzke's want of 
success was not due to lack of effort. In after years his former 



194 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

pupils kept a vivid recollection of the vigor with which he would 
shout, "I mean earnest." 

In 1894 Mr. George Taylor Files was called to Bowdoin as Pro- 
fessor of German. Professor Files was born in Portland on Sep- 
tember 23, 1866, and was therefore exactly eight years younger than 
President Hyde. He graduated from Bowdoin at the head of his 
class, in 1889, taught at Bowdoin, took a Ph.D. in Germany, and 
then returned to his alma mater to spend the rest of his life in her 
service and that of his state and country. "The distinguishing 
feature of Mr. Files' teaching was his enthusiasm. He always made 
his classes interesting and popular, and he felt that the best methods 
to employ in stimulating his students were constant encouragement 
and liberal praise." But much of Mr. Files' most important work 
was neither that of an investigator nor of a teacher. He rendered 
extremely valuable service in reorganizing the administration of the 
college, and from 1897 to 1905 served as Registrar, an officer who 
then performed many of the duties now assigned to the Dean. As 
a member of the committee on buildings and grounds "he did very 
much to make our campus a thing of beauty. His friendly ways and 
his ability to work with others made him popular with all with whom 
he came in contact ; and it is high praise, and the kind of praise he 
would like, to say that nowhere will he be more fondly remembered 
than by the janitors and other employees of the College." Profes- 
sor Files took a lively interest in town affairs. "And his activities 
extended also to the State. Throughout Maine he was regarded 
not only as perhaps the best known member of the Bowdoin Faculty, 
but as the original and consistent champion of good roads. He was 
one of the leading highway experts of the State ; he did much to se- 
cure progressive legislation, and he gave very freely of his time and 
of his money to the cause. He also was an early advocate of aero- 
nautics, and with Admiral Peary founded a society, before the war, 
to secure better protection by means of aircraft for our long Maine 
sea coast." When the war came Professor Files, inspired by a high 
sense of duty, volunteered for war work in France. His service to his 
country broke down his health, and he died on April 23, 1919, the old- 
est graduate of Bowdoin to give his life for the cause. On May 4, 1919, 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 195 

a service in his memory was held in the chapel, and President Sills 
concluded a biographical sketch and appreciation with the words, 
"The scholar has finished his learning, the teacher has taught his 
last class, and left to us all a noble example of industry and devo- 
tion. Best of all his service abroad unstintedly given, his last illness 
borne with patience and courage and marked consideration for 
others, have won for him praise higher than usually falls to the lot 
of mortals. Here at Bowdoin he will long be remembered as a very 
kindly and very brave man." 

The departure from Brunswick of ex-President Chamberlain 
left the subjects of History and Political Science without a teacher 
and it was proposed to drop them, but half the Junior class requested 
Professor Charles H. Smith to take up the work of General Cham- 
berlain as lecturer and he consented to do so. The next year the 
Boards made him Professor of History and Political Science. This 
included what is now known as Economics. It was the practice of 
Professor Smith to divide the year between a general study of the 
principles of the science and a special examination of some subject 
of immediate public interest. In 1888 and 1889 the class took up 
the tariff for intensive study, in 1890 the Professor, believing that 
the issue of taxation was more important for the people of Maine, 
assigned that subject for special consideration. At the close of the 
year Professor Smith accepted a call to Yale and was succeeded by 
Mr. David Collin Wells, a graduate of Andover Academy, of Yale 
in 1880, and of Andover Seminary. He took a year of post-graduate 
study and was teaching History and German when called to Bowdoin. 
The choice proved a good one. Professor Wells was an earnest, 
thorough student and though the boys sometimes grumbled at the 
length of his lessons and the lowness of his ranks, they both respected 
and liked him. His special excellence, however, was not in classroom 
work but in stimulating and guiding individual students by personal 
conferences. In 1893 Professor Wells accepted a call to Dart- 
mouth where President Tucker was giving the college a new birth. 
There was a personal as well as a scholastic reason for his leaving 
Bowdoin for Mrs. Wells was a sister of President Tucker. 

Professor Wells was succeeded by Professor William MacDonald. 



196 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

His preparation was somewhat peculiar. The sketch of him in the 
Bugle runs: "Born at Providence, R. I., July 31, 1863. Fitted for 
college at the High School in Newton, Mass., but ill health com- 
pelled postponement of a college course. In 1884 graduated at the 
New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, and from 1884 to 
1890 was Dean of the Department of Music in the Kansas State 
University. Resigned in 1890. Entered Harvard College, and re- 
ceived the degree of A.B. in 1892. Was Professor of History and 
Economics in Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 1892-3." 

Professor MacDonald's first two years were unfortunate. He had 
made a fine impression at Harvard and he had some excellent theo- 
ries of teaching, but he lacked experience in applying them, lacked 
knowledge of his subject and was deficient in tact. He also suffered 
from illness and had serious illness in his family which may have 
prevented him from doing himself justice. But he was supported by 
President H}^de until he was able to support himself. He won the 
respect of the students, he was very useful in matters of administra- 
tion and when he went to Brown in 1901 his departure was felt to 
be a loss to the college. Professor MacDonald has been a writer 
as well as teacher, among his works are a history of the United 
States from Jefferson to Lincoln, in the Home University Library, 
and an edition of American Constitutional Documents for President 
Eliot's Harvard Classics. 

Professor MacDonald had a number of able successors who served 
for comparatively short periods. Among them was Professor Allen 
Johnson, who introduced the preceptorial method in his classes, was 
called to Yale after five years' service at Bowdoin, remained there 
fifteen years, and is now editor-in-chief of the Dictionary of Ameri- 
can Biography. Professor Johnson's successor was Professor 
Charles H. Mcllwaine, Princeton, '94, then a Preceptor at that Uni- 
versity. President Hj^de who had a faculty of discovering young 
men of promise wrote to President Woodrow Wilson of Princeton 
concerning him and Mr. Wilson replied praising Mr. Mcllwaine and 
saying that he should advise him to accept an invitation to Bow- 
doin as unfortunately Princeton was not able to meet the Bowdoin 
offer. But Professor Mcllwaine remained at Bowdoin only a year. 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 197 

While there he published a thorough and original work, The High 
Court of Parliament and Its Supremacy which brought him a call 
to Harvard. 

In 1894, on the urgent recommendation of President Hyde, the 
professorship of History and Political Science was divided and an 
instructorship of Economics and Sociology was established which in 
1897 was made a professorship. The first occupant was Henry 
Crosby Emery of the class of 1892. Mr. Emery was the son of 
Chief Justice Emery, Bowdoin '61. He graduated from Bowdoin be- 
fore he was twenty, tying with three other men for the leadership of 
his class. He taught at Bowdoin until 1900 when he became Profes- 
sor of Political Economy at Yale. In 1909 he was appointed chair- 
man of the United States Tariff Board and served four years. Dur- 
ing the latter part of his life he was connected with important bank- 
ing interests in New York City, Russia and China. "He was a man of 
unusual gifts and of very rare personal charm and was frequently 
regarded as the most brilliant Bowdoin graduate of his generation. 
His friends, whom he numbered by the hundred, feel on his death as 
if a real light had gone out." 

Professor Emery died at sea on February 6, 1924. 

On coming to Bowdoin President Hyde found the chairs of Chem- 
istry and Biology occupied by two Professors of considerable ex- 
perience in teaching, Messrs. Robinson and Lee. Physics was taught 
by a young man hastily called to fill the vacancy made by Professor 
Carmichael's resignation, Mr. Charles Clifford Hutchins of the 
class of 1883. Mr. Hutchins taught for a year. The Examining 
Committee of 1886 reported that his work with the Juniors in the 
Physics laboratory showed that he was an instructor of no ordinary 
promise. The Committee said: "A man as competent as Mr. 
Hutchins to inspire young men with that spirit of enthusiasm which 
appeared in prompt statement and explanation of principles tested 
by personal experiment, and of sufficient mechanical genius to con- 
struct a spectroscope, and to reconstruct the telescope, with im- 
perfect and extemporised tools should by all means, be secured to 
fill a permanent place in the college." Mr. Hutchins attended the 
Harvard Graduate School for a year and served the following year 



198 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

at Instructor in Physics. At the end of the year President Hyde 
told the Boards that "Mr. C. C. Hutchins has proved a successful 
instructor in Physics and also has done work in his department of 
such originality and recognized scientific value as to entitle him to 
a Professorship." The Visiting Committee cordially endorsed the 
recommendation of the President and the Boards elected Mr. Hutch- 
ins Professor of Physics, a position which he held until the Com- 
mencement of 1927 when having completed forty years of continuous 
teaching at Bowdoin he became Professor Emeritus, and with his 
resignation passed what may be termed the second generation of the 
Professors who gave their lives to Bowdoin. 

Professor Hutchins has done remarkable work in the invention of 
scientific instruments and extending the bounds of scientific knowl- 
edge. He was either the first or second man to use the X-ray in a 
surgical case, made the first efficient X-ray tube in America, and con- 
trived a mechanical device for holding an airship on its course. He 
invented a thermograph for measuring the heat of the moon and was 
the first to measure air radiation. In both cases he invented and 
made his own instruments. "His work with the spectroscope was 
also notable. He greatly improved the quartz spectrograph for 
ultra-violet work, and first discovered that an arc lamp could give 
the spectrum of a gas. 

"Among his other inventions was the first machine for determining 
in the laboratory all the errors of a sextant. He made great im- 
provements on the radio-micrometers, and invented an artificial 
horizon which was not affected by jars and vibrations. Among his 
most significant studies are that of the thermo-electric properties 
of alloys. In all his work Professor Hutchins has shown great me- 
chanical skill and ingenuity especially in the grinding of lenses and 
the blowing of glass. When his X-ray tube was first produced he 
made them in considerable quantities for the Physical laboratories 
of the country." 

Mr. Hutchins is a man of breadth and force. A Bugle dedication 
gives an excellent thumb-nail portrait of him, describing him as 
"Scientist and Humanist, a true son of sober-suited wisdom who al- 
ways speaks the thing he will." 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 199 

With the opening of the twentieth century there began at Bow- 
doin a very considerable increase in the number of the Professors 
and of the courses offered by them. The change, however, was not 
sudden or revolutionary but, in the main, a development on lines 
already marked out, and for reasons given in the preface the in- 
struction of the last twenty-five years will not be described in detail 
here. The introduction of a few subjects marked an expanding into 
new fields and some of these courses after a shorter or longer period of 
experiment were withdrawn. As Sanskrit was given in the eighties be- 
cause the Professor of Greek was a fine scholar in the Oriental lan- 
guage, so Russian was taught for a little while because Professor Ham 
had spent some time in that country. In 1905 a chair of Education was 
founded and an able man of very independent mind was chosen to 
fill it, Professor William T. Foster, later President of Reed Institute, 
Oregon. The catalogue announced that the courses in Education 
were "planned to satisfy the requirements of those states and cities 
which demand the professional training of teachers, but the courses 
are not intended primarily for teachers. Rather they aim to be of 
value to the parent, the citizen, the educated individual in any 
community." The courses in Education were continued until 1919 
when the departure of the instructor caused them to be suspended. 

It will be noted that care was taken to explain that the work done 
in Education was not that of a vocational school. Like precaution 
was used when a course was given in the elements of the Common 
Law. The catalogue of 1921 announced that the course was "De- 
signed to acquaint the student with the principles of Contracts, 
Agency, Deeds and Mortgages, and Negotiable paper. This is not 
a law school course, nor intended to prepare the student to practice 
law." 

The chief divergence from the rule that Bowdoin should be a col- 
lege and not a professional school was the giving of a little instruc- 
tion in Applied Science. Although Bowdoin possessed a large and 
well equipped science building and gave excellent courses in Biology, 
Chemistry and Physics, yet its graduates were obliged to take the 
full number of years in scientific institutions because they had not 
studied a few special subjects. One of these was shop-work. In 



200 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

1902 the Boards voted that Mr. Simpson, the Superintendent of 
Buildings and Grounds, might give a course in shop-work to such 
students as were approved by Professor Hutchins. This condition 
prevented from taking the course men whose object was not to gain 
needed knowledge but merely to win points for a degree. In his 
report for the following year President Hyde said of the course, "It 
is intended for those who propose to enter technical professions or 
schools. The work is done in the machine shop of the Searles Science 
Building, it includes pattern making, moulding, and casting ma- 
chine and hand tools. Students are required to make scale drawings 
and from these finish some useful piece of apparatus." In 1904 the 
Boards appointed a committee to secure a subscription of two 
thousand dollars to purchase tools for a course in shop-work. But 
the money was not raised and the course was abandoned. In 1906 
President Hyde told the Boards that it was certainly desirable for 
the college to offer the same preparation for the graduate study of 
technical subjects that it did for the study of law or medicine. The 
Boards, however, were unwilling to appropriate money for technical 
courses, but before the next Commencement the Boston alumni raised 
enough money to secure the employment of an instructor in me- 
chanical drawing, descriptive geometry and practical surveying. 
The Orient stated that with these courses a Bowdoin graduate 
could go through a technical school in two years instead of spending 
three or four and urged that a salary of twelve hundred dollars be 
paid to ensure the engagement of a competent instructor, and that 
six hundred dollars be paid for the purchase of instruments. The 
writer said that he had found many students in college who would 
take the course, that he believed that a dozen more men would join 
the entering class if the course were given and that he himself had 
met by chance two men who would do so. Competent instructors 
were found but the course appears to have been less popular than 
the Orient expected. 

A few years later President Hyde said in his report, "Surveying 
and mechanical drawing is so incidental a subject in a college of 
liberal arts that it offers no satisfactory career for a man of ambi- 
tion and ability. Probably as an exception to our policy of an all 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 201 

professor faculty, we shall have to maintain this subordinate de- 
partment by a series of instructors. It appeals only to the very few 
students who are preparing for a school of technology, and to them 
only in an elementary way." 

The course was discontinued because the instructor was obliged to 
leave on account of illness. Should a graduate of the Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology again be placed on the mathematical staff 
it is probable that surveying and mechanical drawing would resume 
its place. 

There was some attempt not only to introduce "useful" courses 
but to establish a scientific school in connection with the college. 
There is always a demand for a "practical" education and increased 
numbers help win athletic championships. But the Bowdoin author- 
ities stood firmly on the ancient ways. President Hyde was an 
ardent believer in the small college and the Faculty and the Boards 
supported him. Shortly after his accession to the presidency an 
offer of a two years' post-graduate course was struck out of the 
catalogue and the President stated at a college dinner that it had 
been decided that Bowdoin should remain an old-fashioned country 
college but that it would be one of the best of its kind. He even 
declared that every student should during his course recite to every 
professor. Years later Dr. Hyde so far modified his attitude as to 
state that the college would welcome an endowment sufficient to 
maintain a first-class engineering school, but this was a mere gesture, 
no such endowment was in sight and the declaration may have 
served as a tub to the whale of bigness. 

An addition to the curriculum which was at once practical and in 
accordance with Bowdoin principles was the re-introduction of 
Spanish after the war with Spain and the acquisition of the island 
dominions. In October, 1900, Judge Putnam wrote to the Faculty 
urging that it provide regular instruction in the language, and a 
course of one hour a week with Matzke's reader for a text book was 
established and made the equivalent of one whole course for the 
spring term. The next year a full course was established which 
opened the way to the enjoyment of Spanish literature and fitted a 
reasonably able pupil to read easily a modern Spanish novel or news- 



202 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

paper and gave such a knowledge of the spoken language as would 
enable the student three or four weeks after his arrival in a Spanish 
speaking country to engage in conversation. Subsequently a two-year 
course was given. The regular study of Spanish was followed by 
that of Italian. 

In 1903 a course in debating was given for a term, and later the 
instruction in this subject was much extended. 

In 1905 Mr. Charles T. Burnett joined the Faculty and under him 
the course in Psychology was greatly developed, special stress being 
laid on the practical and experimental side. In 1913 courses in 
Art and Music were introduced and it is probable that in the near 
future what may be termed imaginative as distinct from reasoning 
subjects will be given a more prominent place. The courses in 
Music are partly in appreciation and partly in practice. The 
courses in Art are historical and appreciative only. In the late 
nineties a course in drawing was given, but though the instructor 
was highly competent, so few students took the course that it was 
withdrawn. In a small college limited semi-professional subjects are 
usually out of place. The Faculty rejected a proposal for a course 
in the technique of the drama on the ground that the subject was 
too narrow. 

The most recent addition to the curriculum has been a one semester 
course in the Social Evolution of the Hebrew People. 4 The course 
deals with "the origins and social development of the Hebrew Peo- 
ple, with special reference to their literature. The influence of early 
civilizations upon Hebrew customs and thought, and of the Hebrew 
people upon later Jewish and Christian culture." 

The nearest approach to an extension into a university which 
Bowdoin has made since the abandoning of the scientific department 
in the seventies was the favorable consideration of a proposal to 
move the Bangor Theological Seminary to Brunswick and affiliate 

4 A course dealing principally with the life of the Jews was introduced in the 
eighties but soon abandoned. The first year that it was given many students took 
it, the second, only two. The instructor, Professor Woodruff, explained this as- 
tounding falling off by stating that many chose it the first year thinking that it 
would afford an opportunity for evading work and found that they were mistaken. 
Men who have sat under Professor Woodruff will have no doubt of his ability, 
quietly but firmly, to convince such men of their error. 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 203 

it with Bowdoin. The Boards passed a resolution favoring such an 
arrangement and it would have been of great advantage pecuniarily 
and culturally to the Seminary had the plan been feasible. But it 
was discovered that the Seminary did not own its valuable site in 
Bangor and would forfeit it by moving. The Seminary is peculiar- 
ly unsuited for college affiliation since it makes a specialty of pre- 
paring for the ministry men of comparatively little education. The 
advantages of connecting a Theological Seminary with a college or 
university are great but there is a loss of individuality which is harm- 
ful and it may be well that the proposed marriage or adoption did 
not take place. 

The administration of President Hyde was marked by important 
experiments in "student government." The first of these, and the 
one which attracted the most attention, was the creation of a "col- 
lege Jury." As has been said in the last chapter, the eighteen-sev- 
enties and early eighties were marked by great disorder at Bowdoin, 
which caused much bad feeling in the college and seriously injured 
its reputation. In 1882 matters came to a crisis, several students 
were removed and the Faculty maintained its authority for the time. 
But it looked forward to the next year with much apprehension. In 
1883 Amherst established its "Senate," and the Faculty and stu- 
dents of Bowdoin were induced by this example, and by the earnest 
efforts of Professor C. H. Smith, to create a Jury of undergradu- 
ates with extensive powers. The Jury was composed of a member 
from each class, and one from each intercollegiate fraternity that 
had been established at Bowdoin for at least three years ; to these 
groups was afterward added one made up of the unrepresented men. 
The President met with the Jury, but only in an advisory capacity, 
his duties resembling those of the Judge who charges an ordinary 
jury. On the application of six or more jurymen the President 
might, in his discretion, remove a member. The Jury had authority 
over offenses against the peace, order, and good name of the under- 
graduate community, but not over payments to or from the college, 
rank, college exercises, or deliberate falsehood before the Jury, con- 
cerning matters properly before them. No student could refuse to 
answer questions because he would thereby incriminate himself. 



204 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Misconduct was divided into four classes : deliberate falsehood, 
grave misdemeanors, major offenses, minor offenses. In deciding a 
question of fact all the jurymen present must concur, but in deter- 
mining grading and punishment a two-thirds vote was sufficient. The 
President had the right of remitting a sentence in whole or in part. 
It was also provided that: "The President is at liberty to inquire 
into the conduct or character of any student or the circumstances 
or causes of any disturbance. He may do this with a view of giving 
private admonition, advice, or warning to students or their friends," 
but it was to be expressly understood that such action should not 
be considered as a college censure. The students promised to sub- 
mit to the Jury all questions of insult, class customs and the like. 

The agreement could be amended by a majority vote of the two 
parties to it, the Faculty and the students. Either party could, by a 
three-fourths vote, notify the other of its wish to nullify the compact, 
and if, after four weeks, the notice was ratified by a like majority, 
the Jury would be abolished. Ten years later the rules were amended 
to make the respective jurisdictions of the Faculty and of the stu- 
dents more clear, and provision was made for a mixed committee to 
decide disputes. 

The Faculty distributed copies of the plan; and after they had 
been in the hands of the students for a week a mass meeting of under- 
graduates was held and the articles were accepted with only a few 
dissenting votes. The Faculty had not formally passed on the 
question, perhaps waiting to see if the experiment would receive 
general support, but now, say the records, it adopted the pro- 
posal "almost unanimously." The Trustees and Overseers seem to 
have been less favorably disposed. A committee to whom they re- 
ferred the matter reported that the rules should have been submitted 
to the Boards. They said that the plan was most skillfully framed, 
but that the manner of choosing the Jury, and the functions given 
to it, were without precedent. They acknowledged that the old 
method of enforcing order, the performance of police duty by the 
Faculty, would be intolerable ; and that when it had been passed on 
by the courts, as had sometimes been the case at other colleges, it had 
seldom received judicial sanction. The committee said that in large 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 205 

cities the proper method was to turn offenders over to the police, but 
that this was probably impracticable in country colleges because 
there was no local forum competent to deal with such cases. The com- 
mittee hinted that the Boards might appoint a committee of griev- 
ances, which should meet at fixed times, and hear the complaints of 
both the Faculty and the students. But such a committee would 
have been slow to act, and ill acquainted with conditions, and its ap- 
pointment would have tended to weaken discipline without giving 
the students the advantages of self-government. Fortunately it 
was not created. 

The establishment of the Jury was followed hy a great relaxation 
of tension between the classes. At the ensuing Commencement, Act- 
ing-President Packard reported that whatever might be the cause, 
it was a fact, that in the nearly seventy-five years during which he 
had been connected with the college, as student or instructor, he had 
not known a year so free from disturbing influences. 5 Professor 
Chapman, who, as Dean of the Faculty, did most of the work of the 
presidency, was not ready to pronounce a definite opinion on the 
value of the Jury. He pointed out that no case had arisen "that 
has completely shown the ability of such a body to administer jus- 
tice in a time of excitement and strong party feeling. It must, 
therefore, still be considered as on trial, though it is proper to say 
that an important consideration in its adoption was the hope that 
it might prevent the occurrence of excitement and disorder." Ten 
years later Professor Smith, the real founder of the Jury, said, in 
an article written at the time of the college centennial, that what 
was known of the feeling of the students justified making the experi- 
ment, and that the hoped-for results were worth the attempt "even 
at the expense of an occasional unjust decision or some laxity in the 
maintenance of order." Professor Smith frankly admitted that the 
new system was not perfect, that the jurors were not much in ad- 
vance of their constituents, and that they had quietly ignored things 
which they could not control. Professor Smith, however, believed 
that the Jury did good work in moulding student sentiment, and 
teaching responsibility. In the same year, 1894, Professor Little 

5 This good behavior may have been due, in part, to the high regard of the 
students for Dr. Packard, himself. 



206 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

wrote an article on Bowdoin, in which he gave a very fair and accu- 
rate description of the conduct of the Jury. He said, "On several 
occasions, since 1883, when the Jury was first originated it has 
dealt with cases of hazing, and instances of public disorder, in a 
manner which has met with the same amount of public approbation, 
to say the least, which was granted aforetime to decisions of the 
college faculty. While the Jury has not neglected its duties when 
a specific offense has been brought to its attention, it has during 
these years, never evinced a desire to magnify its functions, but 
rather to assume an attitude quite characteristic of public officials 
in a prohibition state." 

The early decisions of the Jury threw some doubt on its zeal and 
efficiency in maintaining order. At its first meeting, for judicial 
business, the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Chapman, brought be- 
fore it the matter of the destruction of one of the gates of the fence 
inclosing the college yard. It was made of wood and, perhaps, had 
been used for a bonfire. "The Jury discussed the case informally. 
The opinion was expressed that such action was entirely uncalled 
for and indefensible, and should not be overlooked. In accordance 
with the sentiment of the meeting it was moved and carried that each 
member of the Jury endeavor in a quiet way to find out what party 
or parties are guilty of the action." But no discovery was made. 

Another matter brought open criticism on the Jury. The class 
of 1886 had promised not to haze and the Freshmen took advantage 
of this disability to perform many provocative acts. Phi Chi, a 
song strictly forbidden to Freshmen, was sung in a room occupied 
by two Freshmen, who are said to have made themselves particularly 
obnoxious. The upper classes were willing to act as substitutes for 
keeping the Freshmen in order, and a number of unknown students, 
reported to be Seniors, went to the room and smashed furniture. 
The Jury discussed the affair, condemned the destruction of prop- 
erty, but expressed the opinion that there had been great provoca- 
tion. It then referred the matter to a committee, who reported that 
others besides Seniors were concerned, but that it was no nearer a 
discovery of the participants than at the beginning; and recom- 
mended that no further action be taken. The Jury agreed to the 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 207 

report by a vote of six to three. A Freshman, E. C. Plummer of 
Bath, wrote an anonymous letter to the Portland Globe accusing 
the Jury in bitterly sarcastic terms of neglect of duty. Mr. C. B. 
Burleigh, '87, in his history of the class states that the singing was 
not a deliberate challenge to the Sophomores but the result of a 
sudden impulse and that the best men in college strongly condemned 
the wrecking of the room. But carrying college quarrels to the 
public was contrary to student custom and an undergraduate meet- 
ing was called with the intention of making Plummer, who it was 
generally understood was the author of the article, publicly admit 
that he had written it. Two Seniors, one of whom was thought to 
have taken part in the raid, abused the correspondent vigorously 
but Plummer set his jaw and never spoke a word. 6 Some of the 
Seniors then expressed their opinion of the destruction of furniture 
in language that must have been very unpleasant for the guilty 
parties to hear. But the majority of the students were loyal to 
college "law" and passed resolutions praising the Jury and censur- 
ing the correspondent of the Globe. 

A few years' later the Jury investigated itself. On March 20, 
1887, a recitation room was broken open and damage done. A num- 
ber of students were brought before the Jury but all were acquitted 
though there was testimony that two of them were seen carrying 
away a door. In May the Jury directed each member to deliver to 
the Foreman a statement of all the knowledge regarding the affair 
which he possessed, his vote on each case, and the reasons for it. 

If the Jury seemed slack in individual cases, it was vigorous in 
laying down rules. On October 29, 1894, it voted that every inter- 
ference with the liberty of a Freshman should be punished by a sus- 
pension of from two to four months, and aggravated cases, by ex- 
pulsion. The special attention of the Jury being called to the dam- 
age done to the hats of several Freshmen when the Sophomores com- 
pelled their removal, "After due consideration the Jury voted to 
class this act of the Sophomores with hazing and that the Soph- 

6 With what appears to have been a confused recollection of one of Elijah 
Kellogg's pieces and of Roman history the students rewarded Plummer's fortitude 
by dubbing him Regulus the Carthaginian and the nickname shortened to "Reg" 
stuck to him throughout his college course. 



208 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

oraore class be informed of the action of the Jury." The Jury, how- 
ever, could refuse to meddle with trivialities. In 1896 it took up 
the question of fights between Sophomores and Freshmen, but only 
"voted that President Hyde make the subject of class rushes a sub- 
ject for a chapel talk and warn the students against further offenses 
of that nature." On the night of November 8, 1897, the Freshmen 
hung a 1901 banner in the chapel, and next day there were some 
clashes between the two lower classes ; but the Jury decided, by an 
informal vote, that the affair was not of sufficient importance to 
require action. 

On October 30, 1899, the Jury considered the subject of scufflings 
between the Sophomores and the Freshmen in front of the chapel, 
and, say the records, "It was the general opinion that while small in 
itself, it ought to be stopped because of outside appearance." Presi- 
dent Hyde suggested that the Jury announce that they would deal 
severely with the first case, and that they would hold inciters as 
guilty as participants ; and the Jury voted to do so. 

Professor Little states in his Historical Sketch that the Jury 
showed no desire to magnify its functions ; but, if it carefully re- 
frained from too frequent exercise of its undoubted powers, it took 
cognizance of matters which might seem to come under the jurisdic- 
tion of the Faculty. The Jury record of December 5, 1892, states 
that "The condition of the reading-room was discussed. The prac- 
tice of reading papers in church was spoken of and condemned. 
Several members spoke of the kicking of steampipes in chapel the 
preceding Sunday. Decided to let it be known that any such case 
would be severely dealt with in future. The price of rooms in Maine 
was discussed; and several jurymen complained of the occasional 
failure to furnish heat in the Hall. Notice was taken of the practice 
of throwing slops out of the windows and of the insufficient number 
of janitors." On March 29, 1905, the Jury voted to suspend for 
four weeks a student who had hidden a reserved book. A motion to 
make the time of suspension six weeks was lost. In February, 1906, 
a citizen complained to the Jury that two students had called him 
"hard names" at a college dance in Memorial Hall and asked that 
they be required to apologize ; the Jury voted that they must do 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 209 

so or leave college. The Jury also voted that any student who was 
drunk or disorderly at a college function should be suspended at 
once without warning. 

This was practically the last act of the Jury. For some years it 
had been moribund. From May 28, 1900, to October 3, 1904, there 
had been no meetings. In 1906 an Inter-Fraternity Council was estab- 
lished, but it was found to lack moral influence because it represented 
sections rather than the student body as a whole. The Faculty an- 
nounced that it would gladly cooperate with a student representative 
body ; the offer was accepted though somewhat slowly. The college 
paper said "The Orient is not desiring to recall the old idea of 'stu- 
dent government.' We really do not believe that student govern- 
ment is either possible or advantageous. The students do not de- 
sire to govern themselves nor is there any logical reason why they 
should be expected to do so. The faculty is given the authority and 
the faculty can not delegate their responsibility. But there are 
many relations in which the students should have more expression of 
opinion, where the students themselves should maintain more over- 
sight over their own organizations, and where there is necessity for 
matters of real college custom to be discussed." In 1908 a Student 
Council of ten Seniors was established. In 1912 its number was in- 
creased to twelve by the addition of two Juniors. The Council is 
elected annually by the undergraduates and "In matters pertaining 
to student affairs it makes recommendations to the student body, and 
occasionally to the Faculty." 

Shortly before the Commencement of 1925 there was an advance 
in the cooperation of the students with the college authorities by the 
appointment by the President of a committee of the next year's 
Seniors to report on what the aims and efforts of the college should 
be for the next ten years. In his report for 1926 the President 
stated that the student report did honor to the college, that it was 
able, candid and very suggestive. 

In 1926 a new Fraternity Council was established. At present 
its authority is Confined to the supervision of inter-Fraternity 
sports. But there is a feeling among the Fraternities that matters 
relating to them should be managed by a body where each Fraternity 



210 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

has representation and possibly the new Council may take over such 
matters as fixing the date of initiation and passing on requests for 
fraternity action. 

In 1927 students sat with members of the Boards and of the 
Faculty on a committee to consider the methods of awarding scholar- 
ships. 

The administration of President Hyde was marked by a great 
softening of student manners. There was no college rebellion or 
great hazing scandal though there were narrow escapes from both. 

The class of 1896 had been too zealous in its Sophomore duties and 
President Hyde announced that he would suspend thirteen Sopho- 
mores unless both under classes pledged themselves not to haze. The 
Sophomores informed the President that if the thirteen were sent 
home the class would go, and the Freshmen by an overwhelming ma- 
jority refused to promise not to haze the next year. The Sopho- 
mores took a sort of pledge against hazing, the thirteen were put on 
special probation and their parents were written to, but there were 
no suspensions. It has been said that the President gave way be- 
cause he did not wish to have a great strike in the year of the college 
centennial. 

In March, 1897, there was a hazing incident which might have 
rivalled the Strout affair. Members of the class of 1899 visited a 
Freshman who is said to have refused to give twenty-five cents toward 
the purchase of a Sophomore tar-barrel and tossed him in a blanket. 
The Freshman was small, the tossers were muscular, and, uninten- 
tionally, he was thrown against the ceiling and had a tooth knocked 
out. The Jury suspended those actively concerned for the rest of 
the term, thus requiring them to postpone their examinations. To 
one, a Senior, his loss of instruction proved so serious that he was 
unable to qualify for his degree in June and was obliged to take work 
the next year. 

At the meeting of the Jury, Marcellus Coggan, son of the Mar- 
cellus Coggan who was knocked senseless by the Freshmen in the Phi 
Chi fight of 1870 and suspended by the Faculty, expressed the 
wish of the Jury that the letters to the parents of the suspended 
students be made as mild as possible. President Hyde promised to 



PRESIDENTS HYDE AND SILLS 211 

do this, and, in return, requested the members of the Jury to use 
their influence to keep the matter out of the papers. 

On June 29, 1917, President Hyde died. His lieutenant and close 
friend, Dean K. C. M. Sills, then served as acting president and in 
1918 was chosen his successor. President Kenneth Charles Morton 
Sills was born in Halifax, December 5, 1879. He was fitted for col- 
lege at the High School in Portland where his father was Dean of 
St. Luke's Cathedral (Episcopalian). In 1897 he entered Bowdoin. 
His college career was one of great distinction ; he won seven prizes, 
took an A in every course, a distinction which no other student has 
attained, and is believed to have received the highest rank ever given 
at Bowdoin. He was an editor of the Orient, of the Bugle and of 
the Quill, was Class Poet on Ivy Day and had the Parting Address 
on Class Day. After graduation he studied and taught at Harvard 
and Columbia and also taught a year as Instructor at Bowdoin. In 
1906 he was called to Bowdoin as adjunct Professor of Latin and 
became Winikley Professor the next year. In 1910 he was appointed 
to the newly created Deanship. 

Some of the events of Dr. Sills's presidency are noted elsewhere in 
the book, but it is too soon to give any full account of even his first 
decade. Here it is enough to say that he has endeavored to unify the 
college, keep its ideals high and exalt the intellectual and spiritual 
over the formal and material. He has done much to make the under- 
graduates feel that they are taking a course, not courses, and that 
they must know some things well. He has freed the abler men from 
the continuous mass lock-step which cramps the exceptional stu- 
dent. He is making athletics an important and healthful recreation 
for all, not the war-like business of a few. He is insisting on a large 
and able Faculty. If one should seek the keynote of President Sills's 
administration he might find it in two sentences from his report of 
1924 : "We Americans have, I think, been guilty of putting too much 
emphasis on the log and too little on the Mark Hopkins . . . Poor 
buildings and excellent teachers are much to be preferred to beautiful 
halls and wooden instruction." 



CHAPTER VII 

MISCELLANEOUS 



The Faculty 



BOWDOIN, like other colleges, has often been hampered by lack 
of money, and therefore has been compelled to pay its professors 
inadequate salaries. As has been noted above, President McKeen was 
offered at his election one thousand dollars a year and the use of a 
house, a compensation which he thought small. Professor Abbot 
was allowed only five hundred dollars a year, but Elijah Kellogg 
wrote the President that he had found some boys for Mr. Abbot to 
fit for college which would "make him some farther encouragement." 
The Trustees voted that he should have an increase of two hundred 
dollars a year after four years' service, but the Overseers disagreed. 
They consented, however, to an increase after two years of one 
hundred dollars, and in 1805 Professor Abbot's salary was made 
eight hundred dollars and President McKeen's twelve hundred. 

Professor Cleaveland was allowed from the first the salary of a 
full professor, eight hundred dollars a year. The Boards also 
authorized a loan to him of not over one thousand dollars to assist 
in the purchase of land and the erection of a house, and in 1814 
they accepted the house and land in satisfaction of the debt. Later 
they allowed him the use of the house without charge, he paying in 
lieu of rent the cost of upkeep and additions. New professors some- 
times received less than a full salary. When William Smyth was 
appointed Assistant Professor of Mathematics he was paid only six 
hundred a year. In 1826 the Visiting Committee spoke of his suc- 
cess in infusing a portion of his own love and devotion to the science 
into the breasts of his pupils and recommended that "more adequate 



MISCELLANEOUS 213 

provision be made for him in order that his talents and services may 
not be lost to the college." The next year Professor Smyth was 
given a salary of seven hundred dollars. In 1828 Professor Cleave- 
land wrote to the Visiting Committee asking it to recommend an in- 
crease in Professor Smyth's salary. The Committee reported that 
purely because of the necessity of providing for instruction in mod- 
ern languages, it could not advise making Professor Smyth's salary 
equal to that of the other professors, but that an addition of one 
hundred dollars would make it equal to the salary of the Professor 
of Modern Languages and that such an increase should be allowed 
during the continuance of the state grant of three thousand dollars 
a year. But the Boards were more liberal and gave Professor Smyth 
a thousand dollars a year. 

In discussing Professor Smyth's salary the Committee had said 
that should the state grant not be continued it was manifest that 
there must be an apportionment of salary among the instructors or 
a diminution of their number. The grant was not continued, the 
college became extremely embarrassed and the Visiting Committee 
proposed to pay the Professors somewhat as if they were mechanics 
doing piecework. The Committee suggested that the President re- 
ceive a thousand dollars a year and the use of his house, that Pro- 
fessor Cleaveland be allowed the use of his house, that each of the 
Professors be paid five hundred dollars a year and that the tuition 
money be divided among them. By this means the more students 
who could be induced to come to Bowdoin and to stay there the 
better it would be for the professors' pocketbooks, and so, in the 
opinion of the Committee, the Professors would be inspired to do 
more and better work. There is something to be said for the Com- 
mittee's position. The danger that professors become lazy or that 
they devote to minute investigation time which should be spent in 
preparing for class work is real, but it is better met by gradual 
promotion and increase of salary in return for proved fitness 
than by putting a premium on quantity production of gradu- 
ates. The Trustees passed a resolution like that recommended by 
the Committee but the Overseers vetoed it. In 1852 the Committee 
again referred to the matter but said that as the proposed change 



214 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

would require an entire reorganization of the college and as its 
success was problematical, it had not thought it worth while to give 
time to the investigation of the subject. 

In 1860 Professors Smyth, Packard, Upham and Chamberlain 
were given eleven hundred dollars a year. The rise in prices during 
the Civil War was not counterbalanced by an increase in salaries 
and in 1865 Professors Packard and Smyth made a formal written 
statement to the Visiting Committee that it was impossible to live 
on their salaries and that during the past year they had over run 
them four or five hundred dollars. The next year a second memorial 
was presented, the first not having been submitted in time. The 
Visiting Committee approved the claim for increase saying, "If we 
can not be generous let us at least be just." The Boards voted an 
increase of one hundred dollars for the year just passed and in 
1867 made the salaries of Professor Smyth, Packard and Upham 
fifteen hundred a year and in 1872 raised the maximum salary of a 
professor to sixteen hundred. In 1881 this was increased to seventeen 
hundred. In 1883 Professor Charles H. Smith was given twenty-five 
hundred dollars a year and most of the other Professors eighteen 
hundred, but the Professors of Latin and of Modern Languages re- 
ceived only twelve hundred. A little later all the Professors were 
given eighteen hundred. Since that time there has been a gradual in- 
crease, and now full professors receive from three thousand dollars 
to five thousands dollars a year, according to length of service. 

The salary of the President always has been larger, often con- 
siderably larger than that of the Professors and he has usually re- 
ceived the use of a house or commutation therefor. The early Presi- 
dents were paid twelve hundred dollars as salary. There appears to 
be no record of the amount of President Allen's salary. President 
Woods was given fifteen hundred dollars, President Harris twenty- 
five hundred dollars, and during his last year of service twenty-six 
hundred. President Chamberlain received twenty-six hundred dollars 
and three hundred in lieu of house rent as he occupied his own. In 
1874, because of the straitened financial condition of the college, he 
relinquished his commutation. In 1880, an endowment of one hun- 
dred thousand dollars having been given to the college by the alumni, 



MISCELLANEOUS 215 

the commutation was restored from 1879. President Hyde, on his 
appointment, was given three thousand dollars as President and Pro- 
fessor of Mental and Moral Philosophy, and was provided with a 
house, but for some years he paid rent to the college. In 1909 the 
President's salary was increased to four thousand dollars a year and 
in 1915 to five thousand. In 1920 the salary of the President was 
made six thousand dollars and in 1923 seven thousand dollars. The 
President is frequently called on to attend meetings of learned so- 
cieties and college dinners and this demand has greatly increased in 
recent years. President Hyde asked the Boards to make an appro- 
priation for his expenses in this particular. Apparently the Visiting 
Committee first favord the request and then reversed its position, for 
its report contains a paragraph approving the grant ; which has been 
crossed out. But later, money was given for such purposes. 

The official residence of the President has also been improved. 
When President Allen came to Bowdoin an addition was made to his 
house for a library and study and there he worked on his famous 
Biographical Dictionary. In 1926 Mr. William J. Curtis and other 
New York alumni met the expense of adding a large reception room 
to the present Bowdoin White House. 

A matter which at times has caused some difficulty is the granting 
of extra pay for extra work. During President McKeen's last 
illness, which was of considerable length, his duties were divided 
among the Faculty. Professors Cleaveland and Abbot, by their own 
request, received no extra pay, but a tutor was given special com- 
pensation. In 1814 President Appleton was voted a hundred dollars 
for additional services but declined it and the Trustees directed that 
this act of liberality be entered on their records. But in 1817 
President Appleton received two hundred dollars and Professor 
Cleaveland a little over one hundred for teaching the classics after 
the resignation of Professor Abbot. President Allen, shortly after 
assuming the duties of his office, presented a bill for preaching in 
the chapel, at the rate of five dollars per sermon, but the Boards 
declined to pay it. 

When President Allen was removed by the legislature the Boards 
voted that the duties of the President should be performed by the 



216 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Faculty and the Faculty divided them between Professors Newman, 
Upham and Cleaveland, assigning to Professor Newman the con- 
ducting of the chapel exercises, to Professor Upham the President's 
teaching and to Professor Cleaveland the executive duties. The 
Faculty was of the opinion that the Professor who officiated in chapel 
and preached to the students performed a work so burdensome that 
he should receive extra compensation. The following year the 
Faculty voted that Professor Newman should receive two hundred 
dollars a year from his six colleagues, each paying equally, but that 
any of them should be at liberty to take the chapel duties a pro- 
portionate part of the time instead of paying. On Professor New- 
man's resignation he was granted three hundred dollars as com- 
pensation for his service in chapel, which had been performed very 
carefully and ably. At different times Messrs. Chamberlain, Smyth 
and Bracket received extra pay for work not in line of duty. 

In discussing the vacancy caused by Professor Newman's resig- 
nation the Visiting Committee reported that if it should be deemed 
best to leave his professorship unfilled "its duties should be divided 
and faithfully performed without any cause of complaint or any 
further compensation. While the instructors are well paid, it is im- 
portant for their own improvement, and that of the youth under 
their care as it is just and right that they should work hard." But 
in 1845 the Committee reported that it was satisfied that the Pro- 
fessors were overworked. In 1855 the Boards voted that "in con- 
sideration of Professor Cleaveland's long and faithful services, and 
for his great extra labor in arranging the conchological and min- 
eralogical cabinets, occupying the whole of his vacation for several 
years," the Professor's note given to the college when funds were 
being raised in the early forties should be returned to him. 

In the eighteen-thirties the Boards were much dissatisfied with the 
way in which the work performed by the instructors was divided 
among them. The Visiting Committee urged that as far as possible 
every professor be brought in contact with each class during the 
college year. The Committee said that they were "not insensible to 
the claims of those who have been longest in the service of the insti- 
tution and most adorned with academical laurels, to comparative 



MISCELLANEOUS 217 

exemption from the daily toils of teaching the younger classes. They 
are acquainted also with the requisition there is upon their powers 
to meet the demands of the more matured minds of the advanced 
classes, and they appreciate the title they have acquired to some 
peculiar portions of their time to extend their own general literary 
and philosophical researches and fit themselves more perfectly for 
informing and enriching the minds of their pupils by the processes 
of lecturing and instruction." But the Committee was of the opin- 
ion, notwithstanding, that an arrangement such as it proposed would 
be fairer to the younger professors and beneficial to the students. It 
felt that "An arrangement of the college exercises by which the most 
eminent among those who are looked up to with respect and admira- 
tion are sequestered and kept aloof from the Junior members of the 
College Society is supposed to involve a possible loss of a portion of 
their best influence and usefulness upon the minds and dispositions 
of [the] students." 

Somewhat related to this problem is the question of an all-Pro- 
fessor Faculty. During Bowdoin's earlier years very young men 
were employed as proctors and tutors, they served for one or at 
most two years, they were usually preparing for the ministry and a 
part of the consideration was the supervision of their studies by 
the President of the college. The salary was small, but even this was 
a burden and from 1827 to 1835 tutors ceased to be employed, "the 
instruction being given wholly by professors, who had rooms in the 
college, which they occupied more or less during the day. 1 While 
this regime induced by sheer necessity was in force, it was sometimes 
claimed as a special advantage, which colleges with tutors did not 
possess — it being a great thing that mature intellect and ripe 
scholarship should thus constantly be brought into contact with the 
pupil. Notwithstanding this, there had been for some time a grow- 
ing conviction that the interests of the college required a return to 
its former practice in regard to tutors." Tutors were again em- 
ployed and in 1839 the Visiting Committee reported that "there are 
certain branches of instruction which may be given by Tutors fully 

1 In one case at least a professor's wife did this also. When Mrs. Stowe 
found the noise of her eight children unendurable she sought the scholastic quiet 
of Appleton where her husband had a study, and worked on Uncle Tom's Cabin. 



218 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

as well, perhaps, as by permanent Professors and at half the expense. 
Tutorships, by affording handsome and highly eligible situations for 
young men of talent, hold out to them prospects of honorable dis- 
tinction within their reach. They serve in regard to college as a 
connecting link, as it were, between the situations of young men and 
those of men more advanced in life. Many a young man of the first 
order of talent, even after having studied for a profession, would be 
happy to spend a couple of years as a Tutor in college to afford 
him an opportunity to enlarge and fill up more satisfactorily to 
himself the circle of his information. By maintaining and preserv- 
ing these offices in college and filling them from year to year with 
young men of talent, we conciliate the feelings of the young, active 
and enterprising. We promote good will toward the college ; we 
save expense to the Treasury ; we prevent by their residing within 
the walls many irregularities and disturbances and probably also 
save from time to time some interesting but excitable student to his 
friends and the community." 

Tutors continued to be employed for several decades, but con- 
ditions changed, divinity schools and graduate schools gave better 
opportunities for post-graduate study than did tutorships at a 
small college, and President Hyde desired an all-Professor Faculty. 
He wished Bowdoin to be a small college, teaching all it taught well, 
not a mongrel college-university, teaching many things superficially, 
perhaps inefficiently, and sacrificing real achievement for the sake of 
a big institution and a long list of courses. 

Yet he was not the slave of this or any other principle but showed 
himself a true Aristotelian, a believer in the doctrine of the mean. 
Where the subjects demanded the preceptorial method, conferences 
between the Professor and four or five students, or where students of 
exceptional ability deserved much personal attention from the Pro- 
fessor, he gave these advantages to the limit of the financial ability 
of the college ; where a subject could well be taught by lectures or by 
brief recitations, he frankly favored larger or even large classes, 
though as a result Bowdoin's ratio of instructors to students might 
be made larger than that of other New England colleges. 

With the question of tutors was entwined that of the proper age 



MISCELLANEOUS 219 

for Bowdoin instructors. President Chamberlain in his report for 
1875 mentioned the youth of the Faculty as its chief weakness. He 
said that with the hard work which the members did this defect would 
soon cure itself, "did not calls to more promising places call our 
professors away as soon as they have gained a good foothold and 
reputation. All indeed do not go but many of late have and in 
filling their places we ought to look for those qualities, among others, 
which age, experience of life and knowledge of men can alone bring 
out." 

But the danger, if danger there was, of a young Faculty soon 
passed. Several of the young men of 1875, or a slightly later date, 
grew old in faithful and valuable service. With increased funds the 
teaching force became larger and Bowdoin enjoyed what may be 
termed a healthy, balanced ration of elderly, younger and young 
instructors. President Hyde in his report of 1906 thus described 
the situation : "The college has been extremely fortunate in the per- 
sonnel and make-up of its Faculty. The majority of the depart- 
ments . . . have at their head men who have been here for twenty 
years or more, and have acquired that devotion to the college and 
that identification with its spirit which insures the continuance of 
their services during life. Others are in the hands of younger men, 
who manifest the same enthusiastic devotion to their work and to the 
college; and may be counted upon for the same permanent service. 
In a few departments we have had a series of brilliant and ambitious 
young men, who have given to the college the years in which they 
were making their reputation ; and then have been called to larger 
salaries and broader fields elsewhere. All these elements are valu- 
able ; and Bowdoin College has been fortunate in having them in 
about the right proportion. . . . 

"The ages of the eighteen professors and instructors range from 
twenty-seven to sixty-one, with an average of forty-three. Their 
experience in teaching ranges from three to thirty-seven years, with 
an average of twenty years. If one were selecting a faculty for 
maximum efficiency, these are the age and length of experience he 
would endeavor to secure." 

In 1914 the President looked less favorably on young short serv- 



220 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

ice men. He said: "Of late years in certain departments we have 
had a procession of these young professors coming and going every 
three or four years. We have been extremely fortunate in getting, 
save in continuity and maturity, as good men as we have lost. Such 
good fortune, however, cannot be counted on permanently. To lose 
men of proved adaptation and success and fill their places year after 
year with untried men however promising, in the long run amounts 
to playing the game with other colleges on the terms, Heads you 
win, tails we lose. That we have played it so long without serious 
loss is little short of a miracle." And the President, as a matter of 
justice to the older Professors who were devoting their lives to the 
college, and of mixed justice and policy as regarded the younger 
men who were sure to receive more liberal offers from other colleges, 
urged that the salaries of Professors be increased five hundred a 
year without delay. 

The question of young or old professors is sometimes a question 
between personality and teaching ability on the one hand and minute 
scholarship on the other. The student committee on the ten-year 
plan advised that special attention should be given to obtaining 
men of the first mentioned type especially if they were to teach ele- 
mentary studies and the lower classes. There is much force in this. 
President Hyde has spoken of the object of the university being the 
subject, of the college, the man. At least we may say that while 
both college and university aim at individual training the training is 
not quite the same and research is incidental at the college and 
primary at the university. The college must avoid the professor 
who in any considerable degree resembles the one who said that he 
would like his position very much if there were not any students. 
It is true, however, that some of the most successful professors at 
Bowdoin during the last decade have combined thorough research 
with instruction. 

President Sills in his report for 1926 declared that such union was 
necessary. He said, "The students in their report have asked for 
men who are not 'parroting pedagogues' or 'learned pundits,' and 
have emphasized the need of real teaching ability on the part of all 
members of the Faculty in a small college. With that there can of 



MISCELLANEOUS 221 

course be no disagreement, and yet it is well to point out that no one 
can continue to be a good teacher if he does not keep his intellectual 
life vigorous by writing and study. A great deal that is called re- 
search nowadays is unworthy of that name. The College does not 
expect to force the men on its Faculty to write useless articles 
simply for the sake of so-called productivity. On the other hand, 
there can be no doubt but that the teaching of the college would be 
dead if the men on the Faculty were not doing scholarly work as 
well as giving instruction. We have made it a rule of late years in 
our promotions on the Faculty to insist upon a certain amount of 
scholarly and productive work having been done, or in rare cases 
being promised. We have been generous in granting leaves of ab- 
sence, sabbaticals, and other things to members of the Faculty en- 
gaged in any kind of research work. There is, I veritably believe 
more scholarly work being done in the Faculty now than ever in the 
past ; but the ideal has not been reached until every member of the 
Faculty is, in his own particular field, a recognized scholar as well 
as a fine teacher. It is not a question either or; it is a question of 
both and. A member of the Faculty should not be either a good 
teacher or a good scholar. He ought to be both a good scholar and 
an inspiring teacher." 

Still one must remember that high ideals are seldom attained, even 
approximately and that it is sometimes necessary to decide what 
part is mint, anise and cummin and what contains the weightier mat- 
ters of the law. In this connection it may not be amiss to consider 
the comment by that experienced scholar, Dr. J. Franklin Jameson, 
on Professor Jernegan's report on "the inquiry why there is not a 
greater amount of productive research on the part of the holders of 
Ph.D. degrees in history." "... It is accepted doctrine that the 
college or university instructor teaches better if he is engaged in 
some investigation on the side. Quite right. Surely the main busi- 
ness of a teacher is to teach. Nearly all our colleges and universities 
were founded for that purpose alone. Those presidents whose in- 
difference to research so many of Mr. Jernegan's correspondents 
accuse ought to encourage with liberality whatever will make their 
teachers vivid forces in the class room. It is, however, not super- 



222 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

fluous to point out that there are other ways beside research for 
achieving this end. Wide reading and careful thought, feeding the 
imagination and clarifying the judgment and energizing the powers 
of expression, may give the teacher all that his classes need without 
his resorting to print at all." 

The Boards have been obliged to determine how far other quali- 
fications then character, scholarship and ability to teach shall be 
considered in the appointment to professorships. Mention has al- 
ready been made of the attempt in the eighteen-forties and fifties to 
require all professors to be orthodox. It not only drove C. C. 
Everett from his chair but excluded Henry B. Smith from a perma- 
nent professorship because he had studied in Germany and it was 
thought that he might be infected with the Higher Criticism and 
other heresies. Curiously enough Mr. Smith may have met with 
Unitarian opposition also as he had formerly held their doctrines, 
but had renounced them for those of the Congregationalists. The 
theological requirements which had been matters of practice rather 
than strict technical rule were, however, gradually relaxed. But 
this was not done without protest. In 1858 Professor Packard said, 
"Let but the suspicion possess the public mind of unsoundness in a 
high-toned moral sentiment and of treachery to the faith and spirit 
of Protestant Christianity, — the flower of our youth will not be sent 
[to Bowdoin] to imbibe poison within its walls." President Cham- 
berlain said that in the choice of professors preference "should be 
given where possible to men of decided religious character and who 
sympathize with the prevailing faith of the Boards and Faculty of 
this historic college." And after the holding of certain theological 
opinions had ceased to be regarded by the Boards as of great im- 
portance President Hyde attempted to soothe the fears of conserva- 
tives by saying that all of the Faculty came from orthodox families, 
and while frankly admitting that some of the Professors had changed 
their earlier views, he declared in the strongest terms that he had 
never heard any of them say in the presence of a student anything 
likely to weaken or alter the young man's religious belief. 

Another question which has given some trouble is what is the right 
proportion of Bowdoin and non-Bowdoin men on the Faculty. In 



MISCELLANEOUS 223 

the late fifties there was sharp public discussion of the matter. Some 
alumni who believed that the college was excessively conservative 
alleged that relationship to a member of the Faculty or the Boards 
was made a most important qualification for position on the Faculty. 
It was indeed a curious fact that although the Faculty was very 
small it contained a son of a Professor and one of a Trustee. But it 
is also true that both these young gentlemen, Egbert Coffin Smyth 
and Charles Carroll Everett, were men of unusual ability and that 
their departure was a great loss to Bowdoin. On the other hand 
many alumni believed that too little attention was paid to the claims 
of graduates, to professorships and other positions connected with 
Bowdoin. After the resignations of President Woods and Professor 
Upham the Faculty was for a time an all-Bowdoin one and a refer- 
ence to this circumstance at the Commencement dinner called out 
loud applause. 

The College Seal 

A college like other corporations must have a seal and the design 
should, if possible, be specially appropriate. When Bowdoin was 
founded it was the most eastern college in the country and according- 
ly a full sun, doubtless supposed to be a rising one, encircled by the 
inscription, Bowdoin Collegii Sigillum 1794, was chosen as a design 
for the seal. The conception was appropriate but unhappily the 
execution was most inartistic. The sun appeared as a large moon- 
faced head surrounded by triangles of what were meant to be flames, 
and the effect was made worse by inferior cutting. But, for over a 
century no change was made. Then, in 1896, the Boards referred 
the matter of redrawing the seal to Professor Johnson. In the fol- 
lowing year ex-President Chamberlain, Professor Johnson and Dr. 
Mitchell were appointed a committee to report on an improved seal. 
In 1898 one designed by the instructor in drawing, Mr. Algernon 
V. Currier, was accepted. Mr. Currier retained the sun as the em- 
blem of Bowdoin, but to signify it he chose a slightly modified re- 
production of a head of Helios on a metope found at Ilium. The 
god is represented as a young man, crowned with the sun. The rays 
were meant to typify the effulgence of the college, and blood spots 



224 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

added by Mr. Currier stood for fulness of learning. In the lower 
corner were the initials of the designer. Artistically the new seal 
was a great improvement, but the question was not one of beauty 
only. The Orient said with truth that it was a very serious thing 
to change the college seal, "The old seal meant a deal of tradition, 
. . . The fact that it's dear, stupid and round old face smiled from 
the sheepskins of Bowdoin's great men and small men seemed to im- 
print upon the hearts of all a feeling akin to love." The Orient 
stated that it welcomed Mr. Apollo or Helios but that, "He will have 
a hard row to hoe, however, until he gets better acquainted with the 
friends of his predecessor." The Orient's prophecy proved fully 
warranted. Many alumni were opposed to a change and their ob- 
jections were increased by the perpetual uniting of Bowdoin and 
Mr. Currier by the insertion of his initials. Mr. Currier announced 
that he had only acted in accordance with a custom of artists and 
that he was perfectly willing to have his initials removed, but the 
sacrifice did not save his work. In 1899 the Boards suspended their 
vote of the year before and the opinion of the alumni was sought. 
Two votes by mail were taken. In the first only a few participated, 
and there was no decisive majority. The friends of the original seal 
now bestirred themselves. The alumni of Washington sent a letter 
to other associations arguing against a change, but, on the advice of 
Chief Justice Fuller, refrained from taking any action until there 
had been opportunity for further investigation. The second vote 
showed a large majority against a change. At the Commencement 
dinner President Hyde announced that "The college seal is still the 
old seal," and his words were received with a burst of applause. A 
new die, however, was struck, which while keeping the old sun did, 
according to the Orient, "beautify some of the ugly details." Beau- 
tify is a strong word but there was an improvement. In reproduc- 
ing the seal, however, care has not always been taken to make it 
appear as well as possible, and some ten years later the Faculty 
appointed a committee "to prevent in the future, such representa- 
tions of the college seal as have appeared on various programmes 
and elsewhere, and particularly on the class day programmes of this 
week." 



MISCELLANEOUS 225 

Commons 

The feeding of college students has always been a difficult prob- 
lem. Sometimes a college has endeavored to furnish its sons with 
physical as well as intellectual nourishment, but the attempt has usu- 
ally been a failure. Whatever may have been the case with the 
mental pabulum, the physical has evoked many criticisms because of 
its simplicity. Yet when the students are thrown on the mercy of the 
townspeople there are loud complaints of the kind of board fur- 
nished, and of the prices charged. Bowdoin's experience has been 
no exception to the general rule. "At the opening of the college in 
1802 an inn was built on what is now the northwest corner of the 
college grounds and it is probable that from the first a few of the 
students took their meals there, most however boarded in private 
families approved by the college authorities." But in 1810 the 
Trustees and Overseers appointed a committee to consider the selec- 
tion of one person to board the students or some other means of re- 
ducing the price of board. This resulted in an arrangement with 
the proprietor of the inn, Captain or Colonel 2 Estabrook. "No 
student could board out of Commons except on the certificate of a 
regular physician, various ills used to invade the college dormitories, 
and some portion, although not the most lucrative part, of the ex- 
cellent Dr. Lincoln's practice was in cases the remedy for which was 
a certificate that the health of A. or B. would be promoted by his 
securing his sustenance elsewhere than at the college table." Nehe- 
miah Cleaveland says, "Justly or not there was almost constant 
complaint of the living 3 and frequent quarrels with the purveyor. 
. . . As a school for bad manners it [Commons] was wonderfully 
successful." In 1813 the Trustees and Overseers appointed a com- 
mittee "to agree with Captain Estabrook concerning the price, 
quality, etc., of commons or to make any further necessary provi- 
sion." In May, 1815, the Boards voted that commons be suspended 
for the next term and that their committee should agree with a suitable 

2 He is called Colonel in Professor Packard's Reminiscences but Captain in 
a vote of the Trustees. 

3 Professor Packard says that the most frequent critics were those who were 
faring better than they were accustomed to do in their own homes. 



226 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

person, if one could be found, for the following term. He was not 
found, and commons, as a strictly college institution, was known no 
more at Bowdoin, except for a brief period during and just after 
the World War. 

But in 1825 a number of students formed an association for re- 
ducing the price of board and presented a petition to the Faculty 
praying that it would take measures for this end, and the Faculty 
voted to do so unless the Brunswick boarding-house keepers reduced 
their prices. The Trustees and Overseers petitioned the legislature 
for financial assistance, part of the money to be used for the erection 
of a dining hall, but no help was given. Meanwhile the student 
association struggled on by itself. In March, 1828, Professor 
Cleaveland wrote to Charles S. Daveis that the high price of board 
had always been a serious injury to the college, that at times it had 
prevented as many as six to ten students from entering and that 
something must be done. Professor Cleaveland said that experience 
had shown that good and satisfactory board could be obtained for 
about $1.161/o a week, 4 which met not only the cost of the food but 
a charge of 96 cents for a poor room. Mr. Cleaveland suggested 
that an individual or a stock company might invest $1,650.00, or 
better, $2,000 in the erection of a hall, but he hoped that not 
merely business motives but college loyalty might be appealed to, 
for he asked, "Can our alumni be induced to do something as a body, 
as has recently been done in many Literary Institutions in this 
country?" The Visiting Committee reported that the student as- 
sociation, notwithstanding its inexperience and the lack of a suitable 
hall had reduced the price of board three or four shillings a week 
and that many students who wished to join it had been prevented by 
lack of room. The Committee therefore recommended that a peti- 
tion of the students that a building be erected by the college and 
leased to them be granted. The Boards agreed and appropriated 
$1,750.00 for the purpose, fixing the rent at what was probably the 
usual interest on that amount. Next year the committee reported 

4 It should be remembered that Professor Cleaveland himself lived very simply, 
being compelled because of the smallness of his salary and the number of his 
children to economize on both clothing and food. His meals would have been 
scanty indeed but for the abundance of potatoes in the vicinity of Brunswick. 



MISCELLANEOUS 227 

that there had been constructed a neat and commodious building — 
the brick building on Bath St., now used as a carpenter shop — fitted 
with suitable rooms for cooking and with chambers for the persons 
employed, and that, "The students provide commons for themselves 
of a good quality at a very economical rate, the expense not exceeding 
$1.16 a week. The entire police of the establishment is under the 
students themselves and we are happy in being able to say that every 
degree of order and decorum is observed that can be desired furnish- 
ing a very convincing proof of the capability of the students to 
govern themselves when they are under no other restraints than their 
own personal convenience and sense of propriety." The association 
purchased twelve or thirteen cows and the Boards appropriated forty 
dollars for a well and fifty dollars for an ice house for preserving 
meat. 

But the eternal difficulty of a college commons soon appeared, one 
set of boarders wished to please their palates, another to spare their 
purses. In 1833 the Visiting Committee reported that during the 
last term less than one-half of the students were in commons. Ap- 
parently there had been some difficulty in making collections for the 
committee recommended that the charge for board be placed on the 
term bills. This was not done but in 1834 the rent was remitted 
and in 1835 the Committee recommended that in lieu of rent twenty- 
five cents a term be added to the bills of those boarding in commons. 
The Committee said that it was important for the college that com- 
mons should be maintained and that a slight reduction in rent would 
tend to secure that object. 

The association ceased to do its own marketing but made a con- 
tract for board, and in 1844 the Boards authorized the Faculty to 
regulate from time to time the price of board as justice and the 
interests of the college should require. In 1851 the Trustees and 
Overseers appropriated not over one hundred dollars to provide ac- 
commodation for the domestics and to this vote we owe the unsightly 
wooden ell of the old building. A few years later the use of the hall 
for the commons finally ceased; but the Visiting Committee pointed 
out that the building still served a purpose, for the knowledge that 



228 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

it might be reopened helped to keep down the price for board charged 
the students by the thrifty citizens of Brunswick. 

In more recent times proposals have been made to reestablish com- 
mons. In 1891 the Orient said that the price of food had risen not 
only at the clubs but throughout the town and that the only remedy 
then practicable was the employment by the fraternities of a common 
purchasing agent, but that the best way would be an arrangement 
like that at Harvard, if Bowdoin had a building corresponding to 
Memorial Hall in Cambridge. A few years later President Hyde 
became an earnest advocate of a commons. In his report of 1894 
he said, "The reduction of necessary expenses of poor students, and 
that, not exclusively by charity, is an absolute necessity, if, with the 
progress of standards of living among the wealthy we are still to 
retain that most valuable and sturdy element of the college com- 
munity — the poor boy from the humble home who works his own 
way." 

But a special building was absolutely indispensable. Like Profes- 
sor Cleaveland, sixty-five years before, President Hyde expressed a 
hope that the friends of the college would loan the necessary funds. 
He believed that the saving to the students and the rent of rooms 
over the hall would not only pay the interest but amortize a thou- 
sand dollars of the principle each year. But the graduates and 
friends of Bowdoin preferred to aid it in other ways. In 1900 the 
Orient said that, "The proposed college commons for Bowdoin is 
still in the air, and the indications are that it will stay suspended 
for some time." Nevertheless, during the next ten years there was 
earnest advocacy of a commons. In the fraternity system was 
found one of the chief arguments in its favor, and also one of the 
greatest practical difficulties. A commons was strongly defended as 
a means of doing away with fraternity clannishness and yet it was 
recognized that without fraternity support nothing could be done. 
The fraternities had recently built chapter houses with full facili- 
ties for boarding. The alumni had contributed liberally to the cost, 
but it had been necessary to borrow considerable sums. Should the 
space allotted to dining room and kitchen become of little use, and 
the financial help they furnished be lost? More important still, was 



MISCELLANEOUS 229 

the fact that, as the classes grew large and the elective system de- 
veloped, the fraternities were the chief means of bringing men of va- 
rying abilities and tastes into friendly broadening contact, and in the 
new conditions, if the Greek letter men were to be true brothers, they 
must be, trapezoi, table-companions. There was a report that the 
Boards would appropriate money to fit up the old Commons hall if a 
hundred students would agree to board there for a year. But in 1909 
an editorial in the Orient said that the students would not be satisfied 
with a commons system, that it would be a failure financially, and 
that after a fairly thorough investigation the writer had been unable 
to discover an instance where it had been successful. 

The World War brought a Commons to Bowdoin but it was highly 
unsatisfactory and President Sills said in his report of 1920 that 
a Commons hall would be very difficult to equip and maintain and 
that recent experience had convinced him that neither Faculty nor 
students would welcome a Commons and that a building for one was 
neither necessary nor desirable. 

In the year 1925-1926 most of the fraternities joined in the em- 
ployment of a purchasing agent who buys in large quantities in 
Portland and therefore can obtain provisions at reduced prices. 
When the much talked of Union becomes a reality it may contain a 
dining room to be leased by the college to some individual who is 
willing to try his hand at boarding students. 

Scholarships 

The first scholarships were given by the State of Massachusetts. 
When in 1814 the Commonwealth granted the college an annuity of 
three thousand a year for ten years it was provided that one-fourth 
of the amount should be used for paying the tuition of worthy and 
indigent students. The annuity was assumed by Maine when it 
became an independent state and was later renewed for seven years. 
The college had drawn most of its students from the wealthy and 
well-to-do classes but free tuition, although during this period tui- 
tion was not over twenty-four dollars, drew to Bowdoin many young 
men of very modest means. In 1831 the college petitioned the 



230 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

legislature to renew its bounty, but without avail. About the same 
time another help failed. In 1815 a Benevolent Society had been 
formed. Professor Packard says that it was "designed to afford 
relief to such students as needed it, was composed of members of 
college, graduates, and friends, and for several years rendered aid 
by loans. Its resources were donations in money, furniture, text- 
books, etc. On the evening before Commencement, a public address 
was delivered before the society in the church, after which a con- 
tribution was taken for its benefit, and the liberally minded made 
it an object to be present for the advantage of this contribution. 
The records show that a large number of undergraduates were 
helped on their way. The society received an act of incorporation 
in 1826, but it did not long survive this public recognition of its 
worthy object." 

A proposal was made that the tuition of poor students be re- 
duced and that the loss of income be made good by a slight increase 
in the general charges but the Visiting Committee said that it was 
unable to recommend any such change and that if there were to be 
a remission, it should be allowed only in a few special cases to be 
passed on by the Faculty or by the Boards. But the Committee 
advised the abolition of the assessment on each member of the grad- 
uating class of five dollars for the Commencement dinner and five 
dollars for a diploma. The Committee said that these exactions 
were "not necessary, but exceedingly onerous to many Young Gen- 
tlemen who have faithfully earned the honors of College but have 
not the Cash to pay for them." It was also suggested that the 
erection of a dormitory to be occupied by students who, during the 
life of the state grant, would have had free tuition, might appeal to 
the benevolent. The hall was either to be rent free or its rents were 
to be applied to the aid of poor students. The Visiting Committee 
said of the proposition, "This is for the consideration of the benev- 
olent. We are not to be the choosers." For some years no aid 
was forthcoming. Then, in 1847, Mrs. Amos Lawrence, a sister of 
Mrs. President Appleton, gave a fund of six thousand dollars, the 
income to be used to defray all or part of the tuition of worthy and 
needy students, a preference to be given to persons entering from 



MISCELLANEOUS 231 

Groton Academy, Lawrence, Massachusetts. No other scholarships 
were received for over twenty years, partly because many persons 
believed that such help had a bad effect on the recipients, making 
them willing paupers. Doubtless this is sometimes the case, espe- 
cially in theological seminaries, where students may be few and 
scholarships many, but in colleges scholarships often give greatly 
needed aid to worthy young men, and Bowdoin suffered from the 
lack of them. The other Maine colleges not only charged less for 
tuition but gave scholarships and even promised them in advance. 
As a result, desirable students who were in narrow circumstances 
were lost to Bowdoin. In the year 1868-1869 President Harris, 
relying on private generosity, promised assistance to several sub- 
Freshmen, but as the expected aid was not certain the Visiting Com- 
mittee asked the Boards to allow the Faculty to remit sixty dollars 
from the term bills of not over five students of the entering class 
and to continue to do so throughout their course. The Committee 
said that there would be no loss to the college as the beneficiaries 
would not enter without this aid. The Boards passed the desired vote 
and the Committee of 1870 reported that they believed that it had 
caused no diminution in the college revenue. They also said that 
one student had left Bowdoin during the year because of lack of 
funds, that it feared that one or two other students must do so and 
it recommended that in extreme cases the President be allowed to 
remit tuition, reporting his action to the Boards in each instance. 
The Boards gave the desired authority but vested it not in the Presi- 
dent but in the Faculty. President Chamberlain in his first annual 
report, that of 1872, stated that the finance committee believed that 
there had been too great liberality in the matter of scholarships, that 
he had reduced the number from fifteen to five, and that more care 
had been exercised in the selection of holders. The President said, 
"Especially do I disapprove of the common practice of promising 
scholarships beforehand to induce students to come to this college. 
I do not look upon these scholarships as an electioneering fund to 
overbid other colleges and I have continually refused to take that 
course in replying to the solicitations of candidates for admission." 
But a little later President Chamberlain modified his position. 



232 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

In 1874 the Boards voted that the college finances did not war- 
rant the granting of scholarships and that no more should be given 
except from special funds. Such funds began to increase in this 
very year, and important additions were made from time to time, 
nevertheless the endowments failed to meet the need. In 1883 the 
college resumed the practice of granting five scholarships of sixty 
dollars each. In 1884 Dean Chapman, who was practically though 
not formally Acting President, stated in his report that under- 
graduates would be obliged to earn money by outside work but that 
for the sake of their studies they should do as little of this as pos- 
sible. He said that there was a constantly increasing strictness in 
the collection of term bills but that there was not a corresponding 
effort to increase the assistance given to really deserving students. 
"To attract and retain patronage the college must be administered 
not only on strict business principles in collecting and expending 
its resources, but also with due reference to the circumstances and 
needs of its patrons, to make pecuniary exactions rigorous with- 
out being able to offer relief when it is imperatively needed will have 
a tendency to dishearten and repel a class of students whom it should 
be our effort and ambition to attract and to reduce our numbers 
when they should be increasing." Professor Chapman said that 
several scholarships had been divided, that no student received over 
forty-five dollars, that various alumni had been appealed to for 
temporary assistance, that W. W. Thomas had given one hundred 
dollars and ex-Senator Bradbury fifty, but that more money was 
needed. 

In 1889, following a recommendation of President Hyde made in 
1886, the Boards increased the number of college scholarships to 
ten and reduced the amount from sixty to fifty dollars. In 1891 
the college became entitled to a large bequest from Mrs. Garcelon of 
California. The only wish as to its use expressed by the donor was 
that due consideration be paid to the claims of needy students. 
President Hyde recommended that there be established from the in- 
come twelve working scholarships of the value of two hundred dol- 
lars a year. The intention was to help without pauperizing men 
worthy of assistance. The President said, "It is not desirable to 



MISCELLANEOUS 233 

make Bowdoin College a place where education is given away to 
every one who applies for it. It is highly desirable to make Bow- 
doin College a place where any boy, who combines good natural 
ability, high moral purpose and willingness to work shall have an 
opportunity to earn an education for himself under circumstances 
which will neither break down his health nor impair the value of the 
education he obtains." No action was taken. In 1901 President 
Hyde urged the appropriation of five hundred dollars a year for 
working scholarships, in addition to all other aid. Again the 
Boards did not act and in his report of the following year the Presi- 
dent discussed the change in the standard of living. He urged that 
all scholarships be raised at once to a hundred dollars a year and 
declared that "the establishment of forty scholarships of twenty- 
five hundred dollars each is the most urgent need of the college to- 
day; for we are now turning away men who would prefer to come 
here." The President, however, retained his objections to free 
scholarships and in 1909 obtained from all living donors permission 
for the Faculty, in their discretion, to make the performance of work 
for the college a condition of receiving the benefit of the scholarships 
given by them. 

In the last quarter of a century friends of the college have been 
most liberal in their gifts of scholarships. There have been three 
foundations of ten thousand dollars, two of fifteen thousand, one of 
nearly twenty-five thousand and one of fifty thousand. Joseph E. 
Merrill directed that from the income of his bequest four thousand 
dollars a year should be set aside for scholarships. 

Some of the scholarships, usually the small ones, have had condi- 
tions annexed to them by the donors. A few are given only to men 
who intend to enter the Trinitarian Congregationalist ministry. In 
1897 Henry T. Cheever, "Desiring to perpetuate my [his] abhor- 
rence of the pernicious habit of smoking and chewing tobacco, and 
under a deep conviction of the danger to young men especially of 
the unclean habit of smoking," bequeathed to Bowdoin the sum of 
five hundred dollars, the income to be given to two Freshmen who 
had not smoked for a year and who were pledged to a life long 
abstinence from smoking and drinking. W. W. Thomas directed 



234 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

that no part of the income of his five thousand dollars scholarship 
fund should enure to the benefit of any one who "uses intoxicants or 
is not a believer in the Christian Religion." 

In the awarding of some scholarships preference must be given to 
men excelling in certain subjects. The Hartley fund of fifteen 
thousand dollars is primarily for the benefit of those intending to 
study law. The Merrill scholarships are confined to American-born 
young men and a preference is given to natives of Maine. Various 
scholarships are to be assigned preferentially to students from 
certain towns or schools. Mrs. Leslie A. Lee provided that in 
awarding a scholarship in memory of her son, Richard Almy Lee, 
who was drowned during his college course, a preference should be 
given to members of his fraternity, the Beta Theta Pi. The schol- 
arship of the class of 1903 is primarily for the benefit of worthy and 
needy descendants of members of the class ; the benefit of the schol- 
arship given in memory of Rev. Richard Woodhull of the class of 
1827 goes first to his descendants. The custom of refusing to 
promise aid in advance has been so far relaxed that the Faculty has 
expressed approval of this being done by alumni. 

At present there is much dissatisfaction among the undergraduates 
with the way in which scholarships are assigned. The student com- 
mittee on the ten year plan stated that worthy men who need aid 
do not receive it, while others who indulge in luxuries, buy golf clubs 
and expensive clothes and frequently attend house parties are helped 
on the ground of lack of means. The committee said that "This 
state of affairs can be traced to two main causes. In the first place 
the students at Bowdoin do not appreciate the purpose and signifi- 
cance of student aid. They regard scholarships as the gift of 
magnanimous people to be had for the asking. Secondly the actual 
machinery and methods for awarding scholarships have not been 
adequate to meet the situation. The committee advised that every 
applicant be obliged to describe his financial situation personally and 
that help be given on the basis of combined need and scholarship in 
the ratio of sixty to forty per cent." The committee advised that 
the scholarships be fewer but larger, a considerable number of stu- 
dents, however, expressed an exactly opposite opinion. 



MISCELLANEOUS 235 

Ranking and Prizes 

Bowdoin has not relied merely on a love of learning and a sense 
of duty to make her wards industrious but has appealed to pride and 
emulation. The early laws provided that in order to correct the tend- 
ency of students to be idle and negligent a public examination should 
be held (all examinations were then oral). The Boards believed 
such examinations to be of great value both in stimulating the stu- 
dents and in giving the Boards themselves useful information concern- 
ing the progress of the undergraduates and the abilities of the Profes- 
sors. The Visiting Committee was present at the examinations at the 
close of the year and there was also a special Examining Committee. 
The latter committee was continued even after the examinations be- 
came written. President Hyde reported that it was of little use since 
its membership changed from year to year and the committee had 
been organized to meet conditions no longer existing. The President 
advised that it be replaced by a committee on instruction which 
should have power to recommend candidates for vacancies on the 
Faculty and should serve for several years. But a vote of the 
Trustees creating a committee resembling the one recommended by 
the President was vetoed by the Overseers. 

But it is doubtful if the public examinations had the good effect 
on the students, at least in later years, which the Boards expected. 
The examiners were usually elderly, very conservative men, often 
chosen for other than scholastic reasons and the boys sometimes 
regarded them with little respect. The Orient of 1885 stated that 
"The fossils, as usual, were present in large numbers at the exami- 
nations and filled the hearts of the Freshmen with awe and reverence 
with the depth of learning shown in the questions asked. The Jun- 
iors, even, were rendered speechless when asked if the centre of the 
sun could be looked into by means of the spectroscope." Fossils was 
a favorite term for the visiting gentlemen, but it was not because of 
the subjects in which they excelled for in 1888 the Orient reported 
that one of the fossils asked rather irrelevant questions in mineralogy. 

A more constant appeal to emulation than was afforded by public 
and semi-public examinations was the establishment of a graded 



236 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

ranking system. In 1827 the Visiting Committee presented a plan 
for a scale of merit setting forth the rank of each student and the 
following year the Boards accepted the recommendation. The first 
scale applied to the work of the student as a whole, but a few years 
later the practice was introduced of ranking the student separately 
in each study. The system was not popular. There was a strong 
movement in the educational world of the day against the use of 
emulation as an incentive to study, which was regarded as an appeal 
to an unworthy motive. A leader in the new crusade was President 
Lord of Dartmouth, then one of the most eminent of the alumni of 
Bowdoin. The wave of reform swept over the Maine college and in 
1836 the Seniors, supported by all the other classes, petitioned for 
the total abolition of the ranking system. The feeling was intense. 
A Canadian student wrote to his father that the Faculty in reply to 
a former petition had taken it upon themselves to do away with 
distinctions of rank at public speakings, "Which," declared the angry 
youth, "is mere get off. Now if they do not act pretty much as the 
students want it or as the Yankees would say be right up to the 
mark I should not wonder if a third of the class left and went to 
some other college." The Boards, however, refused to make any 
change, acting in accordance with a calm, well-reasoned report of 
the Visiting Committee, written by Ebenezer Everett, and no secession 
took place. In 1839 the students petitioned again asking that the 
Commencement parts be assigned without regard to rank. The 
Visiting Committee, in what Nehemiah Cleaveland well describes as 
"a brief and pithy paragraph from Judge Preble's caustic pen," 
and a committee to whom the matter was specially referred reported 
against the change "thus putting the question to rest," says Mr. 
Cleaveland. 

But, while attempts to change the system, may have ceased or 
rather may have been suspended for many years, heart-burnings 
due to the individual grading of a whole class remained. The feeling 
was the more bitter because although rank was taken as an indication 
of scholarship, it did not depend on scholarship alone. Points were 
forfeited for minor infractions of college discipline and the students 
thought it grossly unjust that an able man should take; a lower 



MISCELLANEOUS 237 

place because he had been cutting chapel more frequently than his 
duller rival. When General Chamberlain became President of Bow- 
doin this unfairness was removed and the accounts of scholarship 
and conduct were kept separately. Another cause of complaint was 
removed by abolishing the announcement of a definite rank and 
merely reporting that a student was in a certain group. At one 
time a class was divided into quarters according to rank. Then for 
many years a student received first, second or third class standing 
in each study. With the turn of the century came a modification. 
In 1898 the Orient announced that it was probable that there would 
be a change to four classes, A, B, C, and D, the old first class being 
divided into A and B. The Orient said that the Faculty seemed to 
be almost unanimously in favor of the change, believing that if a man 
did specially good work he should have something to show for it, but 
that the students seemed to be opposed to the new plan with hardly 
an exception. In 1901 the four-letter arrangement was adopted. 
It was also provided that students receiving A or B in three-fourths 
of their courses should graduate cum laude, those receiving A in one- 
half their courses should graduate magna cum laude, and those ob- 
taining A in three-fourths of their courses should be given a summa 
cum laude. In 1911 the requirements for degrees with distinction 
were increased. A rank of A or B in seven-eighths of the courses 
was made necessary for a cum laude and a rank of A in like number 
for a summa cum laude. For a magna cum laude an additional 
eighth of Bs was demanded. 

Although the mingling of scholarship and conduct in the deter- 
mining of rank had been abandoned, what was given with one hand 
was in a measure taken back with the other, for a goodly proportion 
of rank was given for attendance. But in 1904 rank was made de- 
pendent on scholarship alone (so far as that could be determined 
by recitations and examinations) and stringent rules against cutting 
were laid down to secure the presence of students. In recent years 
students taking high rank are allowed extra privileges, in this mat- 
ter. The danger of abuse is recognized, however. Dean Nixon on one 
occasion preceded his list of the happy few with the words "The 



238 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

following men are permitted to cut lectures at discretion and are 
advised to use some." 

The distinctions just mentioned are mostly honorary, others give 
to the Tartarins of the class both glory and flannel, in varying 
proportions. About thirty prizes are now awarded annually. They are 
listed and described in the annual catalogues, which are easily acces- 
sible, and here mention will be made of only a few which for one 
reason or another are of special interest. When Bowdoin opened 
the generosity of a friend had provided it with a prize as well as a 
library. On November 4, 1795, Judge David Sewall sent a ten-dol- 
lar bill to the Boards for a prize in oratory or for such purpose as 
the Boards should see fit. The accompanying letter announced the 
purpose of the donor to continue the contribution yearly until he 
should establish a prize fund which would yield ten dollars a year, 
and the promise was duly carried into effect. The form and con- 
ditions of the award of the prize have varied from time to time. In 
1809 the Boards voted that two gold medals alike, except that they 
should be numbered one and two, should be awarded for the best 
compositions in prose or verse submitted in a special contest. A 
few years later the Trustees voted that the ten dollars should be 
awarded to the best orator in the three lower classes. In 1823 three 
prizes were offered of five, three and two dollars to be paid in books, 
and the contest was limited to Sophomores. In 1834 the Trustees 
voted to make the contest a Senior not a Sophomore one and to 
allow the winners to receive the prizes in money, but the Overseers 
disagreed. Later, however, the prizes were reduced to two and paid 
in cash. The small fund was absorbed in the general funds of the 
college and forgotten, but the prizes were still given. But in 1899 
a resolution highly praising Sewall was passed by the Boards and a 
fund sufficient to produce ten dollars a year was set apart for the 
payment of a "David Sewall Premium" to be awarded to a Fresh- 
man for excellence in composition. In 1905 the Alexander prize 
for select declamation was founded and the Sewall Premium was 
given for the best translation of an assigned passage in Latin, 
French or German. 

For over seventy years after the foundation of the Sewall prize 



MISCELLANEOUS 239 

no other prize fund was given to the college, 5 then the class of 1868, 
just before its graduation, voted to found a prize for the best written 
and spoken oration by a member of the Senior class, the contestants 
were to be four or six in number and were to be selected by a com- 
mittee of the Faculty. Each member of the class of 1868 was to 
contribute fifty dollars or his note for that amount endorsed by ten 
classmates and payable in ten years. During this period the prize 
was to be sixty dollars and the interest of the remaining one hundred 
and fifty dollars was to be used to defray the expenses of the speak- 
ing. After the expiration of the ten years the prize was to be the 
interest on one thousand dollars. The arrangement proved difficult 
of execution. Some men failed to pay the interest on their notes ; 
provision had been made for collection but it was not carried out 
and on many occasions the winner of the prize was obliged to write 
to strangers asking for small sums. This did not redound to the 
honor of the class and it decided to suspend the giving of the prize 
until a fund of one thousand dollars in money had been accumulated. 
From 1882 to 1887, both inclusive, the prize was not awarded. The 
speaking was then resumed and has been continued until the present 
day, although with the fall in the rate of interest the prize has sunk 
from sixty to forty-five dollars. 

There has been some criticism of the way in which the contest was 
conducted. The Orient of 1890 complained of the short time given the 
speakers for preparation and declared that the exhibition suffered 
in consequence. In 1904 the Orient said that at the last speaking 
three of the five contestants had been prompted and declared that 
the participants should be allowed to take their manuscripts on the 
stage and read them as other public speakers did. 

In 1874 the Brown prizes for Extemporaneous Composition were 
established and from that time new prizes were given frequently. 

The largest prize is the Smyth Mathematical prize, given by 
Henry J. Furber of the class of 1861 in memory of Professor Wil- 
liam Smyth. It amounts at present to three hundred dollars and is 
given to the student attaining the highest rank in mathematics for 

5 The college itself gave four prizes in English Composition which later were 
withdrawn, the need having been supplied by private generosity. 



240 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

the first two years. The prize is paid in equal instalments at the 
end of the Sophomore, Junior and Senior years ; should the winner 
leave college the balance is paid to the next in rank. 

There are two prizes which it may be somewhat embarrassing 
to award and to receive. The Owen Premium, a ten-dollar gold 
piece given in memory of Colonel William Henry Owen, Bowdoin, 
1851, by his brother is awarded to "some graduating student recog- 
nized by his fellows as a humble, earnest and active Christian." 
Lucien Howe has given a prize scholarship of fifty dollars to be 
"awarded by the Faculty to that member of the Senior class, who, 
during his college course, by example and influence has shown the 
highest qualities of conduct and character." 

Four prizes have been given by men who at the time of the gift or 
previously were members of the Faculty. They are the Goodwin 
Commencement and the Goodwin French prizes given by Daniel 
Raynes Goodwin and the Sophomore Greek and Latin Prizes given by 
Jotham B. Sewall. Mr. Goodwin hoped that his classmates might 
also contribute a thousand dollars for a second prize, in which case 
both the prizes were to be named after the class of 1832, but the 
money was not raised. Another prize came to Bowdoin through 
William Jennings Bryan, acting as trustee of a fund established by 
Philo Sherman Bennett of New Haven. The prize is given for the 
best essay on the principles of free government. 

Some of the professors and eminent graduates of Bowdoin have 
been prize winners in their student days. In 1875 the second Ex- 
temporaneous Composition prize was won by Arlo Bates. In 1877 
the two first English Composition prizes 6 were won by George T. 
Little and Robert E. Peary, respectively. Albion A. Moody won 
the mathematical prize and also took second prize in declamation 
with Longfellow's "Bell of Atri." Austin H. MacCormack won the 
'68 prize with an essay on Scotland and Her Singers. 

In 1891 Algernon S. Dyer of the graduating class won four 
prizes with the same essay, and the next October the Faculty voted 
that no part of any essay which took a prize should be used in 

6 In this contest there were two first and two second prizes ; the future Pro- 
fessor's subject was, "The Jesuit and the Puritan in America," the future Admiral's, 
"Shall the Turk Remain in Europe." 



MISCELLANEOUS 241 

any subsequent competition. In 1909 the Faculty voted that prizes 
should not be awarded to any man whose work was incomplete. 

The objection in the middle of the last century to the ranking 
system was partly due to a disbelief in the fairness of the Faculty. 
Many thought, it is to be hoped without warrant, that the winning 
of scholarship honors depended largely on orthodoxy in religious 
belief. Daniel R. Goodwin provided that his Commencement prize 
should be awarded by a committee of clergymen, and it was said 
that a moderately liberal oration might win the prize but not a 
radical one. Today many students think that personality, grasp 
of the subject, and other matters which may be interpreted according 
to the individual views of the instructor are considered where only 
full and accurate knowledge should be taken into account. 

Apart from the question of personal feeling the attainment of 
relative fairness is somewhat difficult because the examinations and 
the ranks are not given by a single Board as at Oxford and Cam- 
bridge but by a great number of teachers with somewhat divergent 
ideas of what should be expected from college students. To check 
serious injustice a rule has been in force for a number of years that 
all ranks shall be reported to a central authority and if an instruc- 
tor has given an unusual number of very high or very low marks he 
is notified of the fact so that he may review his judgments. 

A matter of importance, though not one of proportional justice, 
is the determination of the general demands of the college. Shall 
the requirements for admission and graduation be great or small, 
rigidly enforced or scraps of paper? The general public often re- 
gards even a little learning as an awe inspiring thing, its connection 
with matters educational is with the management of the public 
schools where there is special reason for gentleness in fixing condi- 
tions of passing, and opinion outside the college has favored low 
standards. Many alumni held similar views. Bowdoin needed 
tuition money, at times it needed it badly ; in the seventies the very 
existence of the college was threatened and where standards were 
concerned many alumni were ready to proclaim that "Low life is 
better than no life at all." Or, perhaps, it were kinder and fairer to 
say that these men were thorough-going Aristotelians, and though 



242 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

anxious that the college should lead the good life had a full realiza- 
tion of the fact that to do this it must first have life. Some alumni 
placed athletics above scholarship. In 1903, when Bowdoin had been 
beaten by Maine 16-0, an alumnus said, "In my day the University 
of Maine was a standing joke. They used to come over here and 
we had lots of fun with 'em. The fun's on the other side now, and I 
don't know but what I'm glad of it. We got licked to-day because 
we hadn't the stock — the stock, sir. Good what there was of it, 
but the supply is short. Old Bowdoin must fling wide open her gates 
and get some — some stock, sir." But many men in authority at 
Bowdoin took a higher view. The Examining Committee was not al- 
ways composed of learned men, but that of 1873 said in its report: 
"It can not be too often repeated and repeated that severe and 
patient study, not recreation and ease; a gymnastic exercise of the 
whole mind often, and not milk-punch and cigars is the portion of a 
College Student . . . Make the course high and broad. Better that 
some fall in the ditch or break their necks at the bars than that the 
ditch be so narrow and the fence so low that every clod-hopper 
shall clear them." 

President Hyde stated that it was quite impractible to teach the 
ill-prepared and the well-prepared together and that Bowdoin had 
taken as her duty the teaching of the well-prepared. Today the 
question is extremely acute. President Hyde in advocating a broad- 
ening of the entrance requirements said that Bowdoin from her 
geographical position was almost wholly dependent on Maine for 
students. Now a majority, though a small majority, of the Bow- 
doin undergraduates come from outside the state. Maine has not 
the numerous excellent fitting schools that densely populated and 
wealthy states like Massachusetts can boast. Frequently boys from 
the smaller towns cannot meet high requirements or are prevented 
from trying by exaggerated rumors of their difficulty. Hence men 
of fine character and good ability are lost to the college. Yet if 
entrance is made easy the college may be overrun with youth with 
small brains and less backbone. It is a most important problem 
and a most difficult one. At the Alumni Day luncheon of 1926 Presi- 



MISCELLANEOUS 243 

dent Sills said that there was no other question which so urgently 
demanded the attention of the graduates of Bowdoin. 

Commencements 

The first Commencement did not occur until 1806, but as it 
would be of considerable importance the college held a sort of dress 
rehearsal. The year before, the Portland Gazette of September 9, 
1805, said, "On Tuesday last being the third anniversary of the 
Commencement [the word is here used literally] of Bowdoin College, 
the Trustees and Overseers assembled at Brunswick and several 
specimens of the improvement of the students were exhibited to a 
small but respectable audience. 7 

"No parade was designed, it being the wish of the governours of 
the College, that this first exhibition should not be very public. Those 
however who were so fortunate as to be present were highly gratified 
and somewhat surprised at the very manly and sensible compositions 
of the young gentlemen concerned in the performance of the day. 

"Their style of oratory was animated and correct ; free from that 
frippery which is so frequently esteemed ornamental and which has 
hitherto been considered essential to college oratory. Upon the whole, 
the writer of this, who has seen many brilliant Commencements at 
Cambridge, from the specimen exhibited last Tuesday, believes that 
the first grand Commencement at Brunswick, will afford as strong 
marks of improvement in science [well-grounded knowledge], and in 
polished oratory, as that Antient and respectable seminary will ex- 
hibit." 

The "first grand Commencement," although postponed a day by a 
fearful storm, appears to have been otherwise successful. After the 
exercises, in which all the seven members of the graduating class took 
part, "the procession . . . repaired to the hall [Massachusetts] and 
partook of an excellent entertainment given by the Corporation. A 
large concourse of ladies and gentlemen from Boston, and other 
citizens partook of the entertainments of the day. Splendid enter- 

7 The smallness may have been due to the fact that the village of Brunswick 
contained comparatively few persons who, in the sense in which the word was then 
used, were "respectable." 



244 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

tainments were given, and notwithstanding the most violent storm 
which this season ever produced raged for a great part of the time, 
as much hilarity and rational mirth was found as the most lively 
anticipate on such occasions. 

"On Wednesday evening, the exercises having been postponed to 
Thursday on account of the storm, a subscription ball was given, and 
on Thursday evening the graduates gave a Commencement ball, 
which was attended by more fashion and beauty than ever before ap- 
peared in the District of Maine. One hundred and twenty ladies and 
a greater number of gentlemen were present on the occasion and a 
stranger would have imagined himself in Boston or New York, rather 
than in a humble village had he taken a view of this splendid assem- 
blage." 

Professor Packard, in his Reminiscences, says of this Commence- 
ment : "The exercises were held in the church building, yet unfinished 
and affording but a poor shelter from the pouring rain. President 
McKeen presided in the pulpit with an umbrella over his head ; what 
the audience did in that shower-bath has not been recorded . . . 
The adventures under the pelting rain and tempests of those days 
through gullied and muddy streets in the moonless nights ; mishaps 
of overturns in the Egyptian darkness (Gen. Knox's carriage, with 
its company of gentlemen and ladies, was upset down the bank on 
the side of the bridge ...)... all together made a series of scenes, 
of misadventure, fun and jollity such that many declared that they 
would repeat it year by year. It was a tradition for years." 

The second Commencement was noteworthy for the graduation of 
the smallest class that Bowdoin ever sent into the world. Only 
three men, Charles S. Daveis, Robert Means and Seth Storer, took 
the bachelor's degree, and it was necessary in order to have exer- 
cises of the kind customary on such occasions to double the parts. 
The fewness of the speakers was made the subject of special official 
notice and as befitted an institution of learning, this was couched in 
classic phrase. On the program was printed in Greek letters, 
Trikephalos Hermes, three-headed Hermes, Hermes being the Greek 
god of eloquence and letters. But Bowdoin was more fortunate in the 
number of its smallest class than was a college with which she has 



MISCELLANEOUS 245 

recently had friendly and scholarly contest, Rutgers. At Rutgers' 
first Commencement there was but one graduate and this linguistic 
youth gave three orations, in Latin, Dutch and English, respectively. 

The subjects treated by the students at Commencements and "Ex- 
hibitions," that is, public declamations and discussions, covered a 
wide field. Much attention was given to the men and to the history 
of Greece and Rome. It was a period when the newspapers were 
filled with letters from "Leonidas," "Cimon," "Aristides," and other 
ancient heroes, and when a writer to the Cumberland Gazette could 
argue that Bowdoin would make a better governor than Hancock, 
because : "We need now the firm, steady, undeviating mind of a Cato, 
not the flexible, soft and accommodating temper of an Atticus." 
These particular Romans seem to have had a special attraction for 
Bowdoin men. At the Exhibition of May, 1807, there was "an 
English dialogue in the characters of Cicero and Atticus on the 
happiness resulting from their respective modes of life" ; at an Ex- 
hibition in 1814 there was a "conference" in Latin "on the conduct 
of Cicero, Atticus, and Cato during the civil wars of Rome." 

In 1823 there was a Latin dialogue on the Reign of Nero, William 
Pitt Fessenden being one of the participants. Two years later 
John P. Hale gave a Latin dissertation on The Writings of Quin- 
tilian. In 1824 "Hawthorne," if a printed program may be trusted, 55 
delivered a Latin dissertation, De Partribus Conscriptis. Not only 
Latin, but Greek and even Hebrew, or what purported to be that 
language, were heard from the public platform. But the speakers 
were not always the best scholars in these languages ; far from it. 
In 1810 a student named Wise, and noted for his collection of to- 
bacco pipes and his constancy in using them, delivered an oration 
in Greek. Professor Packard says that in his time "The Hebrew 
taught at Bowdoin did not amount to much although the Commence- 
ment of 1814 was dignified by what was called a Hebrew oration by 
King of the graduating class." Nehemiah Cleaveland says of King, 
"He rubbed along through college in some unaccountable way, as 
others have done before and since." He is one of the few alumni of 
whom the college lost all trace. 

8 Hawthorne had an incurable aversion to public speaking and was accustomed 
to cut his assignments. 



246 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

But in their zeal for antiquity Bowdoin students did not forget 
the claims of later days. A transitional subject was that of a dis- 
sertation which compared the characters of Pericles and Lorenzo 
de Medici. The future Governor Dunlap discussed The Utility 
of Ancient History for a Modern Statesman. There was a con- 
ference between Columbus and Vasco da Gama on the merits of their 
respective discoveries. In 1822 there was a conference on The 
Military Talents of Knox, Greene and Gates. In 1823 Henry W. 
Longfellow in the character of King Philip and James W. Bradbury 
representing Miles Standish debated the respective rights of the In- 
dian and the white man to the soil of North America. Occasionally 
subjects of immediate business or political interest were discussed. In 
1813 John Anderson, later a prominent Maine lawyer and a mem- 
ber of Congress for eight years, and Benjamin F. Salter, a future 
merchant, debated The Usefulness of the Legal Distinction between 
Misfortune by Insolvency and by Vice. In 1814 there was a col- 
loquy on The Commercial Advantages of the District of Maine. 

Though Bowdoin was a classical college the claims of science 
were not neglected. Quimby of the class of 1806 discussed astron- 
omy in his Commencement part. At an Exhibition of the same year 
there were demonstrations in perspective, astronomy and algebra. 
In 1823 William Pitt Fessenden, and William Rufus King, a nephew 
of William King and Rufus King, had a dialogue in English on 
Modern Inventions. 

The place of the speakers was for a time determined by the nature 
of their parts. On May 11, 1809, the Faculty resolved that, "The 
government deem it expedient, that at exhibitions and Commence- 
ments, Forensics be delivered in the galleries, dialogues and con- 
ferences on the stage." 

But though there was a certain variety yet there was much repeti- 
tion both of subject and treatment. In 1851 a correspondent of the 
Boston Journal, perhaps A. G. Tenney of the class of '35, wrote: 
"Regret was expressed that, the part upon Sebastian Rasle was ex- 
cused. Such themes as 'Classical Studies,' 'the Reformation,' etc., 
have become too hackneyed to be employed at Commencement Ex- 
ercises, and we think that we speak the sentiments of a majority of 



MISCELLANEOUS 247 

those who usually listen to them, if we say that a theme illustrative 
of any local event of history always receives admiring attention 
when a more trite one would hardly be regarded." 

It may be that Mr. Tenney did not do justice to the youthful 
efforts which he heard year after year, or time may have brought 
improvement, for in 1867 a correspondent of the Christian Register 
wrote, "One cannot fail to notice a maturity of thought and an ex- 
cellence of delivery not observable at Cambridge, whether due to the 
advanced age and poverty of the students here, who all come to 
study, [shades of Phi Chi] or to the greater diligence, I know not, 
but the fact is patent." 

Whatever the quality of the speaking there was no doubt of its 
abundant quantity. For over seventy years every member of the 
graduating class, unless specially excused, was required to deliver 
a "part," receiving according to his rank an oration, philosophical 
disquisition, literary disquisition, disquisition, discussion, disserta- 
tion. In the eighteen-twenties the Boards appointed a committee to 
consider the shortening of the Commencement exercises, but nothing 
was done. In the sixties a newspaper correspondent stated that 
though excuses were to be had for the asking over half the class 
spoke and the "Commencement audiences generally most certainly 
at Bowdoin are fast getting wearied of the tedious display of young 
rhetoric." In 1877 there was a rumor that the number of parts 
was to be cut down to twelve or fifteen. A correspondent of the 
Orient protested vigorously. He said that if a man won his A.B. 
he deserved a part and that a refusal might cause him a pecuniary 
loss, meaning, probably, that it might affect his success in obtaining 
a good position as a teacher. The correspondent expressed doubt of 
the ability of the Faculty to rightly determine a difference of one 
per cent and said that comparatively stupid men obtained high rank 
by "grinding," while others who were brilliant in some specialty stood 
lower in general average. The correspondent, however, was quite will- 
ing to shorten the exercises. He said that what was important was that 
each graduate should have some part assigned him on the program, 
to the audience a disquisition seemed as honorable as an oration, 
actual delivery might well be limited to eight or ten of the best 



248 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

writers and speakers or to those who obtained the highest rank. 
The correspondent said that graduates who had been refused parts 
had gone away with bitter feelings and that "Surely in the present 
condition of Bowdoin, it is desirable to secure 'by a trivial conces- 
sion,' the support of any graduate, especially when a slight yielding 
will not only create a friend but destroy an enemy." The Faculty 
appears to have approved the suggestion, for it voted that each 
member of the graduating class should have a part, but that only 
the ten having the highest rank should speak. In 1880 it was pro- 
vided that two of the ten should be chosen, not on account of rank, 
but for their ability in writing and speaking. 

In 1894 the Seniors petitioned that only the names of those men 
who were to speak should be printed on the program, and that there 
should be no indication of relative rank. The Faculty discussed the 
subject at length, postponed it for a week, then discussed and post- 
poned it again, but at the third trial reached a decision. It voted that 
at the ensuing Commencement honorary appointments should be given 
to all who had attained a rank of seven in a scale of eight or who 
had been assigned a part because of ability in speaking, but that 
after 1894 the names on the program should be divided into two 
divisions, determined by rank, and that the name of the leader of the 
class should be clearly indicated. All who attained a rank of seven 
in a scale of eight were to write parts and read them to a committee 
of the Faculty which would select six to speak. 

Some years later the distinguishing of the leader of the class was 
discontinued, the change was probably a wise one. Students might 
be tempted to avoid hard courses or professors who were hard rank- 
ers or they might injure their health by excessive study as was 
found to be the case in England. Furthermore it was difficult to de- 
termine justly the slight difference which gives A rather than B the 
first place. In 1892 four students, H. C. Emery, L. M. Fobes, H. F. 
Linscott and E. B. Wood, tied for first place. The calculation was 
then carried out for another decimal with the same result. The 
Faculty then assigned the salutatory by lot, the distinction falling 
to Mr. Wood and an announcement of the tie was printed on the 
Commencement program. Curiously enought three men were tied 
for last place in the class. 



MISCELLANEOUS 249 

In September, 1917, a further change was made. The Boards 
voted that a Faculty committee headed by the President should, be- 
fore the first week in December, select six members of the graduating 
class who were of good scholastic ability and also able to write and 
think clearly, and that by March twentieth these men should submit 
drafts of parts and the President should select four of them to be 
revised and delivered at Commencement. Now the preliminary 
selection is made later and ten not six men are chosen. 

Another change in the Commencement exercises was the passing 
of Latin. For many years either the valedictory or the salutatory 
was given, not in the speech of Americans, but in that of ancient 
Romans. But as the dead language became yet deader, its appro- 
priateness grew less and concessions were made to human ignorance. 
The Commencement Orient of 1877 announced that the Latin valedic- 
tory "was written in the plainest and easiest manner possible, so as 
to be intelligible to the poorest Latin scholar. This was very fortu- 
nate, as there were many good hits in it which otherwise would have 
been lost to the majority." A little later the Latin part was changed 
to the salutatory, and in 1883 this became a few sentences of greeting 
in Latin, addressed to the "guardians," and then an address in Eng- 
lish like the other parts. The Orient disapproved this modification 
of old custom. It said that people expected college students to 
know all the arts and sciences and that they would look to hear much 
which they could not understand, that the Latin gave a pleasing va- 
riety and distinguished the first scholar in the class and that its omis- 
sion would diminish interest in Latin. But such arguments could 
not save the little Latin left. Ten years later George S. Chapin of 
the class of 1893 gave the last Latin-English salutatory at Bowdoin, 
and in 1894 Edgar M. Simpson marked Bowdoin's centennial year 
by delivering as the Salutatory an English oration of the same 
nature as those given by other members of the class. 

Every Commencement has had not only its feast of oratory, but 
a more literal and mundane feast. In May, 1806, the Boards voted, 
"That there be a public dinner on Commencement days for the 
Trustees and Overseers of the College. 



250 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

"That the Treasurer be appointed to procure a suitable place and 
provide a public dinner for the Commencement on the first Wednes- 
day next. 

"That there be a committee of arrangements for said day who 
shall be impowered to invite to the public dinner the clergy and such 
other public and literary characters as shall attend the Commence- 
ment." In September the Treasurer was directed to provide a din- 
ner at the next Commencement for not over one hundred persons. 
As the day approached the Boards became more generous and in- 
creased the number of persons to be fed to one hundred and twenty. 
In 1809 a dinner was ordered for one hundred, but the Boards sub- 
sequently voted that provision be made for one hundred and eighty. 
This liberality was due to the presence of distinguished guests. 
Governor Gore was making a tour through Maine and attended the 
dinner. We have no record of the speeches ; but at a dinner to Mr. 
Gore in Portland one of the toasts was, "Bowdoin College, May its 
infancy be as distinguished as the riper years of the venerable Har- 
vard." In 1821 Acting-Governor Williamson attended Commence- 
ment accompanied by his staff and an escort of cavalry, but the 
Boards voted only one hundred and thirty dollars for feeding ex- 
penses. In 1839 the Boards extended the bounds of their liberality, 
yet with due regard to the treasury. They voted that the supper 
held by the alumni on the evening before Commencement should be 
paid for out of the dinner appropriation, provided that this was 
sufficient for both meals. 

The dinner has always been free, but this did not make it satis- 
factory. A special correspondent who attended the dinner of 1867 
wrote "Let me say here that the dinner provided on these occasions is 
not fit to set before hungry Christians. There is little variety, too 
little of any one thing and that neither well cooked nor served in 
clean dishes. We might have good bread, warm coffee and plenty of 
well-cooked cold meat at no greater expense." Another correspondent 
said that the Commencement dinner had been irreverently called, "A 
meal on cold meats and Calvinism." But soon there was a great im- 
provement. In 1870 the dinner was held in Memorial Hall, and a 
correspondent reported that "The change from the contracted walls 



MISCELLANEOUS 251 

of the old gymnasium 9 to this spacious hall was most acceptable, and 
the authorities made another innovation by providing a dinner that 
was really eatable . . . there will hereafter be a pleasant place for the 
alumni to meet . . . and there will be something good to eat after the 
long and wearisome exercises in the church." But if Memorial Hall 
was more convenient it must arouse thoughts not wholly pleasing. In 
1878 Professor Packard, who presided at the Commencement dinner, 
said that he would slightly change the epitaph of Sir Christopher 
Wren and quote it as, "Si impecuniam quaeris circumspice." "This 
allusion to the unfinished state of Memorial Hall was received with 
shouts of laughter." After Memorial Hall was finished the dinner 
was held in the upper hall, the portraits of Bowdoin men on the walls 
suggesting the dining halls of Oxford and Cambridge. But the in- 
crease in the size of the college, in time, rendered even Memorial 
crowded and uncomfortable and the first Sargent Gymnasium was 
tried. This, though an improvement, was not wholly satisfactory. 
But now a good dinner is served in the spacious new Gymnasium, and 
places are reserved for the classes holding quinquennial reunions. 

"The Commencement of 1821 to which the governor came with his 
staff and an escort of cavalry, and which was largely attended by 
prominent and influential men from all parts of the state, revived 
memories of the famous first Commencement." That two handsome 
lads of good families, named Hawthorne and Longfellow, took their 
entrance examinations at this time was a minor event of local inter- 
est, perhaps hardly that. When they came to graduate Longfellow 
stood fourth in his class, or, technically, third since the young man, 
Gorham Deane, who ranked second in the class died shortly before 
Commencement, a victim of excessive devotion to study. He had 
completed his work, and forty-nine years after he would have gradu- 
ated the Boards at the request of his classmates voted that his name 
be printed in the catalogues with that of his class. Young Long- 
fellow, who graduated at eighteen, had been somewhat given to writ- 
ing melancholy verse in college, with money earned by his pen he 
had bought an elegant three volume set of Chatterton's poems, and 
for his graduation part he had chosen "The Life and Writings of 
9 Now the carpenter's storehouse. 



252 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Chatterton" and his oration was thus entitled on the Commencement 
program. But Longfellow's father expressed the opinion that "so 
few of your audience have ever heard of his name that I fear you 
will not be able to make the subject interesting to them." The 
young man therefore wrote another oration and the printed pro- 
gram was altered. Hawthorne stood about the middle of the class. 
He had written themes of most excellent quality but he had persis- 
tently cut declamations. He read what he liked, did little work on 
what he did not care for and obtained no part. Much has been writ- 
ten of the college life of Longfellow and Hawthorne ; especially valu- 
able are the life of the poet by his brother and the book on Haw- 
thorne, which is devoted chiefly to his college life, by his close friend 
and classmate, Horatio Bridge. A most interesting address on the 
class, which contained many able men, and on the Bowdoin of their 
day was given by Edward Page Mitchell, '7.1, at the Commencement 
of 1925. 

The Commencement of 1824 was notable for being the only occa- 
sion in the history of Bowdoin when a degree was conferred out of 
Brunswick, and also for the advantage that was taken of this cir- 
cumstance. Lafayette was then making his famous visit to the 
United States and came as far east as Portland. It was hoped that 
he would honor the college with his presence and the Boards voted 
him the degree of LL.D. The General, however, decided not to extend 
his tour so President Allen went to Portland and presented the degree 
with due solemnity, to which Doctor Lafayette made suitable reply. 

Meanwhile a very different scene was being enacted at Brunswick, 
which is thus described in a letter of Rev. Dr. Peabody to Nehemiah 
Cleaveland, "Your kinsman John Cleaveland 10 will give you a very 
amusing account of the reception of Lafayette in Brunswick, — a 
mock reception, in which the town's people were entirely taken in, — 
in which Cleaveland played the part of Lafayette even to the most 
tender salutation of the ladies. It was by far the greatest and most 
amusing hoax I ever knew, and ought to be preserved in the records 
of the college. Were Cleaveland not near you I would write an ac- 

10 John Cleaveland was a brother of Nehemiah and was a Sophomore when he 
played the hoax. 



MISCELLANEOUS 253 

count of it, beginning with bells ringing ; the circulation of the rumor 
of his coming ; cannon firing ; shutting down of the saw-mills ; proces- 
sion formed, headed by such music as could be got ; cheering ; the 
flocking of the citizens, the marching down [one side of] Maine St. 
and up the other ; the ladies at the windows and in the yards waving 
their handkerchiefs, and in an agony of enthusiasm; Cleaveland, in 
old regimentals and with his aid in an open chaise, and actually 
getting out at one house where a bevy of fair ladies stood at the gate, 
their eyes dim with excitement and enthusiasm, and kissing them, 
all wound up with a supper over which the Maine law did not preside, 
at which we came near being blown up by a barrel of gunpowder, etc." 

Some of the Commencements have been notable for celebrations of 
anniversaries in the life of Bowdoin. The first was that of 1852 in 
honor of the semi-centennial of the college. It was held in a great 
tent, 11 none of the college buildings containing an auditorium large 
enough for the purpose. Care was used in selecting the guests of 
honor. Mr. Daveis suggested to President Woods that a special 
invitation be sent to the well-known lawyer, writer, and leader of 
the Whigs, Joseph R. Ingersoll of Philadelphia ; the President re- 
plied that he approved the suggestion and would write himself, "Un- 
less it may be thought that having declined to invite Mr. John Van 
Buren and other leading Democrats at the request of some of their 
political friends an invitation to Mr. Ingersoll might be thought to 
show partiality." But the President said that he had submitted the 
matter to the committee of arrangements and anticipated no objec- 
tion as "Mr. Ingersoll is one of our laureates [honorary graduates] 
and is known as a literary man as well as a politician." 

The celebration was held the day before Commencement. Among 
those present were the three surviving members of the first class, 
the Democratic candidate for the Presidency, Franklin Pierce of 
New Hampshire, George Evans, one of the ablest Whigs in the coun- 
try, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was expected that another Pres- 
idential candidate, John P. Hale of New Hampshire, would also be 
present but he did not attend. In anticipation of his coming two 

11 There is good authority for saying that a temporary building was erected 
but a contemporary newspaper says that the dinner was given in a tent. 



254 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

campaign banners bearing respectively the names of Pierce and of 
Hale had been hung side by side. The alumni assembled at 10.30 
at the chapel where President Woods "made a welcoming speech and 
expressed a desire that all hearts might be pervaded only with the 
spirit of brotherhood. The guests then proceeded in long proces- 
sion to the church." There Nehemiah Cleaveland gave an address 
on the history of the college and Judge Tenney one on its instruc- 
tion, and Rev. Ephram Peabody of Boston delivered a poem. At 
three o'clock the much enduring audience was released and marched 
in procession to the tent. This had been decorated with portraits 
of Governor Bowdoin and other gentlemen connected with the col- 
lege. At its head was the motto, Vita sine Litteris Mors. 

On the right hand wall was the motto of the Athenaean Society, 
Scientia Suos Cultores Coronat (Knowledge Crowns her Worship- 
pers), on the left hand was the motto of the Peucinian Society, Pinos 
Loquentes Semper Habemus (We have Always the Murmuring 
Pines). Mr. Evans who acted as toastmaster at the dinner praised 
New Hampshire, "which had been the birthplace of many distin- 
guished men to whom the nation has already been largely indebted. 
What obligation it was to impose, in the future, he said the future 
must determine. He was sure, he said, that on this occasion, all 
present of whatever party and from whatever section, would unite 
with him in testifying their approbation of the honor done to a sister 
State and to their Alma Mater, in the confidence reposed by the 
people in two brother alumni. 

"These remarks were warmly received. 

"Honorable Frank Pierce rose to respond and was received with 
great applause. In an easy, forcible, and happy manner he thanked 
the presiding officer for his generous reference to his native State, 
and to himself, so bountifully, as he expressed it, compensating for 
the meagerness of the subject by the amplitude of the compliment. 
He then, in a brief but felicitous manner, congratulated the brethren 
present on the pleasant reunion, tinged though it must be with the 
melancholy reminiscences of loved companions now no more. 12 His 
remarks were received with round after round of applause and 

12 One of Pierce's closest friends at college died soon after graduation. 



He>try Wadsworth Loxgfeli,ow 



MISCELLANEOUS 255 

enthusiastic cheers. Professor Champlin of Waterville College an- 
swered to a sentiment recognizing that institution as a worthy and 
respected sister. In his remarks mirthful allusion was made to the 
bell of Waterville College, which is supposed to be secreted in the 
classic sands of Bowdoin. 

"The flow of soul continued until the dusky shades of evening ob- 
scured the distinguishing features of the happy company, when, with 
Auld Lang Syne and three cheers for Bowdoin, the alumni dis- 
persed." At ten, after various social and class meetings, all the 
college buildings were illuminated, and to the chapel were attached 
transparencies bearing the names of Governor Bowdoin and of the 
college presidents. 

In 1875 the interest in the class of 1825 caused the members to 
hold their principal class reunion in public in the Congregationalist 
church. 13 Of course the class poet could be no other than Longfellow. 
He was not felicitous in occasional poetry and made it a practice to 
refuse invitations to deliver it. But on this occasion, though he at 
first declined, he later acceded to the request to act as poet, became 
much interested in his task and produced Morituri Salutamus. Pro- 
fessor Packard states that the exercises "were held in the Congrega- 
tional Church the afternoon before Commencement, the class being 
seated on the platform with Prof. Packard, the only survivor of their 
college instructors. The exercises were introduced by Prof. Egbert 
C. Smyth of the theological seminary, Andover, Mass., president of 
the association of alumni. Prayer was offered by Rev. John S. C. 
Abbott of the class. A poem was pronounced by Prof. Henry Wads- 
worth Longfellow, and an address by Rev. Dr. George Barrell Chee- 
ver." 

Of the thirteen survivors of the class eleven were present. One of 
the absentees was William Stone, who was born in Maine but who 
passed his life after graduation in Mississippi where he gained suc- 
cess in law and politics. He died in 1877 and an obituary notice 

13 There were other meetings. The last took place on the morning of their de- 
parture from Brunswick. The class gathered for half an hour in one of the 
college rooms and then proceeded to the Thorndike Oak. One of their number, 
Reverend David Shepley, offered prayer and then the members took each other 
by the hand, knowing that it was for the last time. 



256 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

stated that "the greatest grief of his later days was being prevented 
by sickness from attending the meeting of the survivors of his class 
in Brunswick." 

In 1894 the college celebrated the anniversary of its founding. 
Special exercises were held in the college church. An oration was de- 
livered by Chief Justice Fuller, Bowdoin '53, and a poem by Profes- 
sor Arlo Bates, Bowdoin '76. 

At the dinner many prominent men spoke, most of whom were in- 
teresting. Among those attending were the oldest living graduate, 
Rev. Thomas T. Stone of the class of 1820, and ex-Senator Bradbury, 
the last survivor of the class of 1825. Mr. Stone rose, supported on 
each side, and murmured a few scarcely audible words of greeting. 
But Senator Bradbury gave a short, interesting speech in clear, firm 
tones. 

In 1902 the centennial of the opening of the college was marked 
by the delivery of an oration by Thomas B. Reed of the class of 
1860. It made no reference to Bowdoin but was in the main an 
earnest philosophical proclamation of one of Reed's favorite theories, 
that it is the times and the masses which make history, and not in- 
dividual men. At the dinner he made a speech which was very short 
but full of characteristic wit and sense. 

At the Commencement of 1904, the centennial year of Hawthorne's 
birth, an address was given by Bliss Perry. In 1907, Longfellow's 
centennial year, Professor Chapman delivered an address and ap- 
preciation and President Samuel V. Cole of Wheaton read a poem. 

In 1909 Bowdoin, with considerable ceremony, conferred the 
degree of LL.D. on Robert E. Peary in honor of his discovery of the 
North Pole. General Hubbard, '57, President of the Arctic Club 
which backed Peary financially, delivered a long address on Peary's 
just claim to be the discoverer. Alfred E. Burton, '78, the Dean of 
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, spoke of Peary the 
Scientist. His companion in the expedition, Donald B. MacMillan, 
'98, spoke of Peary the Leader, and Professor Chapman, Bowdoin 
9 66, delivered a brief but stirring poem on Peary of Bowdoin. 

In 1925 the centennial of the graduation of Bowdoin's greatest 
class was celebrated by an address on Longfellow and Hawthorne by 



MISCELLANEOUS 257 

Bliss Perry, an address on "The Class of 1825" by Edward P. Mitch- 
ell, '71, and a poem by Charles W. Snow of the class of 1907, the 
latter being chosen by competition. 

Student Celebrations 

Most of the exercises described above were provided or supervised 
by the college authorities, there were others, often of a more lively 
nature, which were given by the different classes. Professor Packard 
says in his Reminiscences that the class of 1818 celebrated Fourth of 
July 14 at "Paradise," a bubbling spring of clear cool water in a 
dell in the forest below Professor Cleaveland's, which . . . was 
much frequented." The class of 1837 held a supper on July Fourth 
of its Senior year, various toasts were given, one by a French 
Canadian student, W. D. Morrin, expressed the hope of a peaceful 
settlement of the question of the Aroostook boundary, a sentiment 
which was received most cordially. 

In 1859 the graduating class celebrated what may be regarded as 
the first regular "Class Day." It was held on Monday of Commence- 
ment week. In the morning a poem was delivered in the Congrega- 
tionalist church, the class then marched to the cemetery and stood 
with uncovered heads at the grave of Professor Cleaveland, who had 
died at the beginning of the college year. They then marched to 
the house of President Woods, again paying their respects to the 
memory of Professor Cleaveland by raising their hats as they passed 
his late residence. At the President's, complimentary speeches were 
exchanged and the class proceeded to the houses of the other Profes- 
sors and of ex-Professor C. C. Everett. At all these places refresh- 
ments were served. In the afternoon the public exercises were con- 
tinued under the Thorndike Oak. The program, exclusive of music, 
was, Chronicles of the Class, A. Mitchell, Yarmouth; Prophecy, 
James A. Howe, Lowell, Mass. ; Parting Address, Oliver Libbey, So. 
Parsonsfield ; Ode, by Americus Fuller ; Smoking the Pipe of Peace ; 
The Farewell. The class stood in a circle round the Oak to sing the 
Ode and preceded it by Auld Lang Syne. 

14 The long vacation was then in the winter. 



258 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Class Day has been continued with minor modifications until the 
present time. An oration as well as a poem is given and the proph- 
ecy, which is said to have been serious originally but which came to be 
a collection of "roasts," not always in the best taste, was transferred 
to the class supper. One reason for the change was that with the 
increase in the size of the classes the prophecy had become long and 
tiresome for outsiders if not for the class. The calling on the Pro- 
fessors was soon dropped from the program; a newspaper of 1869 
speaks of it as a former custom. 

Although Class Day was originally held early in Commencement 
week it was soon moved to the close; the class was now a group of 
alumni free from Faculty control and the members sometimes availed 
themselves of their immunity to pay off old scores. The Faculty at- 
tempted to protect themselves. John C. Coombs of the class of '69 
was informed that he would be stopped if he attempted to deliver 
part of what he had prepared. Were the exercises held before the 
conferring of degrees the Faculty would hold the whip hand, and in 
1875 it set aside Tuesday for Class Day. There was great dif- 
ference of opinion in the class on the matter, some wished to fight, 
others to yield, others to omit the exercises. No decision was reached 
and no parts assigned until Commencement week had actually ar- 
rived. Then it was determined to have the exercises on Friday in a 
hall in the town. 

In 1877 the class complied with the wishes of the Faculty and held 
the exercises on Tuesday, although a large minority favored Fri- 
day, "thinking it rather inappropriate to make their farewells until 
the last day of their connection with the college." The change, how- 
ever, did not save the Faculty from fiery darts and the Orient ex- 
pressed the opinion that both the Historian and the Prophet were 
unduly severe, it added, however, "Both parts were very finely writ- 
ten and well delivered and had an air of freshness and originality 
which must have been exceedingly agreeable to the regular attendants 
of 'Class Day,' to whom the old stereotyped forms and expressions 
must be decidedly stale." 

The Juniors as well as the Seniors have their special day, Ivy Day. 
On October 26, 1865, the Junior class planted an Ivy, probably at 



MISCELLANEOUS 259 

the chapel, with an oration, poem, and ode, the latter written by 
Henry L. Chapman. But there were no other Ivy Days until 1874 
when the class of 1875 held one and its example was regularly fol- 
lowed by all succeeding classes. There were two important changes 
from the first Ivy Day. The new one was held in June and besides 
the serious speaking there was a conferring of "Junior Honors." 
One "honor" is real and always the same. A wooden spoon is given 
to the most popular man of the class. The other honors vary from 
year to year and are bestowed as jokes. 

The class of '77 granted six honors, the wooden spoon going to 
William T. Cobb. The ode was written by Robert E. Peary. The 
class of '78 gave only four honors, perhaps because it was decided 
to have an Ivy at so late a date that the "chapel parts," that is the 
serious addresses which were then given in the chapel, were omitted 
although the speakers had been chosen. Two of the honors were 
given to men who in after life became leading citizens of Brunswick, 
Hartley C. Baxter and Barrett Potter. The wooden spoon went to 
Alfred E. Burton. Potter had also been elected poet. There was a 
precedent for this doubling of parts, the class of '76 made Arlo Bates 
both poet and president. 

For many years the fraternity groups and the non-fraternity 
men each furnished a member for a presentation, but now a few men 
are chosen for reasons of appropriateness. 

Although Ivy Day belongs to the Juniors, the most impressive 
part is in only a slight degree a Junior exercise. When the cere- 
monies under the Oak are finished the graduating class marches in 
solid formation to the chapel, which it is not obliged to attend 
afterward, and holds Seniors Last Chapel. There is a brief serv- 
ice, then the Seniors in solid body, lock-step, move slowly down 
the aisle singing Auld Lang Syne. It is a touching scene, not only 
do some of the fair spectators shed tears but the Seniors themselves 
are at times unable to control their emotions. After the Last Chapel 
of the class of 1892 it was said that one Senior, a big, hardy fellow, 
the very reverse of a sentimentalist, was so overcome that had he 
not been supported by his companions he would actually have fallen. 

In the seventies the revival of Ivy Day was an experiment which at 



260 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

times seemed likely to fail. But it justified itself. In 1884 the 
Orient said that "The Ivy exercises are beginning to attract nearly 
as much attention as Commencement, filling an important place in 
student life and memories." The exercises were not the only attrac- 
tion. On the day before there was a boat race and a college Field 
Day. On the day itself there was a ball game and a dance. 

There have been general college celebrations somewhat disrespect- 
ful to the powers that be but which they were not strong enough to 
put down. One of these was the May Training. In 1836 the legis- 
lature attempted to compel college students to take part in the 
annual drills of the militia of the towns in which their respective 
colleges were located. At Brunswick the Bowdoin students ap- 
peared in most farcical array and were very properly ordered off the 
field. The affair was ridiculous in the extreme ; the Brunswick Tele- 
graph gave an account of it in order, said the editor, that people 
living outside Brunswick might have some idea of what had taken 
place, but he added that no mere description could do it justice. A 
most vivid account of the "drill," written by Thomas B. Reed, may 
be found in the Tales of Bowdoin. The conduct of the students was 
indeed most insulting. On their way to the field they stopped at the 
house of Governor Dunlap and groaned in unison. A banner carried 
by the Freshmen had on it the representation of a donkey with the 
legend "The Sage Ass, what made the Law." The students had the 
sympathy of their superiors, however, for the Faculty took the opin- 
ion of Chief Justice Mellen as to the constitutionality of the law. The 
legislature, whose authority had been scorned, passed another act 
making any private who appeared at a muster dressed in a manner 
intended or calculated to excite ridicule liable to a fine of from ten 
to twenty dollars. But the act proved of no importance, the militia 
musters ceased to be held and Mr. Reed expresses the opinion that 
the Bowdoin affair was a chief cause of the contempt into which they 
fell. 

But the students had found the muster most entertaining and 
every May they held one of their own. 

The Training of 1856 was reported in the Brunswick Telegraph 
and the article was reprinted fifty years later. The Telegraph said 



MISCELLANEOUS 261 

of the Bowdoin militia that about fifty officers were well equipped and 
mounted and appeared first rate as did the Bath band, "But the 
company — how shall we describe them? . . . We thought the first 
one of the privates looked as bad as possible, and every succeeding 
one beat his predecessors. They ranged all the way from 'as homely 
as a hedge fence' to as homely as the — one with the horns and tail." 
The soldiers had their pictures taken while parading the streets, then 
they marched to the chapel and listened to an oration by the chap- 
lain. It was meant and taken as mere nonsense, the Telegraph spoke 
sarcastically of its appalling eloquence. But to the men of today, 
who know what was soon to come, the intended travesty is indeed 
appalling. For the orator began: Soldiers of a hundred unf ought 
battles ! Veterans of the next war ! The commander of those laugh- 
ing boys, Francis Fessenden, was to give a limb for his country eight 
years later, others were to make the supreme sacrifice and many were 
to feel that the greatest honor of their lives was the title flung to 
them in jest. All this was in the unknown future, but there was a 
feeling even then that the May Training was a violation of propriety, 
again and again it had been said that it should be given up, but col- 
lege customs are wonderfully tenacious and the burlesque continued 
until stopped by tragedy. In 1858, just before the time fixed for 
the training, a student committed suicide. The boys had no heart 
for farce and once omitted the training was not held again. 

Another custom was one which with some variations of detail was 
common in American colleges, the funeral of mathematics, held by the 
class which had just completed its required course in that awe- 
inspiring subject. At Bowdoin sometimes the remains (books) of 
Calculus were borne on a bier and burned on a pyre and sometimes 
those of Anna Lytica (Analytical Geometry). The ashes were 
placed in a coffin and buried and a stone with a suitable inscription 
was placed at the grave. When '77 came back for its twentieth it 
sought the ancient tombstone lost in the grass, dug it up and moved 
it to another and less inconspicuous situation. 

A graphic description of the burial of Calculus may be found in 
Professor Mitchell's account of Elijah Kellogg in Minot and Snow's 



262 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Tales of Bowdoin, which is itself based on a part of the twenty- 
second chapter of Kellogg's The Whispering Pine. 

A full description of the burial of Calculus in 1859 was given in 
the Brunswick Telegraph. It states that "Ye eulogist and elegist 
wore dickeys of monstrous size running out into triangles as sharp 
as the severest reprimand ever received by unlucky student, neglect- 
ful of his duties, and the necks of the distinguished speakers were en- 
vironed by good clean white cotton neckcloths just % long and % 
wide, purchased by 121^ cents per yard. The mourners wore long 
white frocks and some of them hats as high as 'Sugar Loaf Moun- 
tain, with tails of black cambric depending therefrom, as extended as 
the wreaths which cling to the sides of Sugar Loaf . . . The funeral 
pile was constructed in the Delta of light inflammable stuff, and it 
was a pile indeed, say 8 or 10 feet square and 12 or 15 feet high upon 
the summit were deposited the bier and books, and then the order 
apply the torch was given." In 1875 the Orient announced that the 
funeral ceremonies which were being conducted by the class of '77 
would consist of a eulogy by W. T. Cobb and an elegy by R. E. Peary 
under the "old oak" and a lamentation at the funeral pyre by O. M. 
Lord and that there would be a supper at Masonic Hall. The ac- 
count of the solemnity stated that groans and sobs accompanied the 
eulogy and elegy and that after the lamentation "the pyre was . . . 
lighted, and amid the wild unearthly yells of her followers, the last 
remains of Anna were hastily devoured by the flames" ; there were 
mourning programmes for these funerals, frequently with a picture 
of a coffin and the titles of the participants in Latin. Seventy- 
seven had only a hundred programs printed and it is said that the 
resulting shortage caused fabulous prices to be paid for them by 
collectors of memorabilia. 

The Freshmen and Sophomores have had their special days. Both 
classes have held suppers to mark the completion of the class year. 
Morrin of '37 wrote to his father that the Sophomores had received 
their class tickets and that they would plant their class tree, run in 
a ring around it and then smoke the pipe of peace under its "um- 
brageous canopy." Perhaps at this time, certainly twenty years 
later, the other classes performed like gyrations. The Seniors had a 



MISCELLANEOUS 263 

tree of their own in front of the chapel, the lower classes encircled 
one near Massachusetts Hall. Today the Sophomores endeavor to 
kidnap the "Frosh" President and break up their banquet if they can 
discover beforehand where and when it is to be held, and the Fresh- 
men try to kidnap the Sophomore President as a trophy for the ban- 
quet. Halloween and the spring solstice are consecrated to Sopho- 
more deviltry and the bill for damage to college property is some- 
times heavy. The Sophomores also devote a day or night, or both, to 
making the Freshmen perform "stunts." In the late nineties they 
introduced the custom of a nightshirt parade of the Freshmen 
through the streets. In 1913 the practice was formally abandoned 
at the earnest request of President Hyde. At that time a portion of 
the "town" was very hostile to the "gowns," there had been serious 
conflicts on parade night and there was danger that some one might 
be killed. 

The Sophomores, however, could not give up their fun, and the 
nightshirt parade was soon succeeded by Proclamation Night. Proc- 
lamations are posted giving directions to the Frosh, who in one were 
described as "Ye lisping larvae," "Ye puerile pups." In the eve- 
ning the new men are gathered in the gymnasium, go through various 
performances suggesting the side shows of a circus, have the procla- 
mations pasted on their backs and run the gauntlet of the paddle. 
But the Freshmen have their hour of revenge on "Rising Night." 
They are required to wear a special headgear. For some years it 
was ridiculous and insulting. Now it is a simple cloth cap with a 
white button on top, which has the advantage of enabling the mem- 
bers of the incoming class to recognize each other. Still it is re- 
garded as a mark of inferiority and late in the spring the Frosh 
gather on some evening, burn their caps and mete out punishment to 
Sophomores who are thought to have abused their powers. Ob- 
noxious Sophomores sometimes barricade their rooms and stand on 
their defense and it is possible that Rising Night may end in a 
scandal and a tragedy. 

Several customs, though long lived and famous, have now passed 
away. Among them are the holding of the Peanut Drunk and the 
Turkey Supper. The former was a Freshman, the latter a Sopho- 



264 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

more function. At the first the Freshmen would endeavor to as- 
semble secretly at the chapel, scatter peanut shells about and break 
a jug of cider on the steps, could they do this without interruption 
from the Sophomores great was their triumph. In the same way the 
Sophomores endeavored to hold a turkey supper on the campus 
without being interfered with by the upper classes. The class of 
1900 won a victory which threatened to be indeed a Pyrrhic one. The 
supper was joyfully served at 4 a.m. on the steps of the Art Building. 
The grease and gravy soaked into the pavement and limestone steps 
and it was feared that irreparable damage had been done. The 
class promptly sent one of their number to apologize to the Faculty 
in their name and offer to submit to any punishment which they 
might see fit to impose. Fortunately the boys' carelessness was less 
serious in its results than had at first been feared, but according to 
the class historian "At first it seemed as if some of us would have to 
buy a new Art Building." 

The Peanut Drunk and the Turkey Supper unostentatiously died 
out, other events were formally abolished. The Sophomores had 
been accustomed to hold a horn concert. Originally, perhaps, a 
terror to the Freshmen, it grew to be a martyrdom for the Sopho- 
mores. They were expected to march in a body round the dormi- 
tories blowing horns while the upper classes did their best by throw- 
ing eggs, turning on the hydrant and even using clubs to break them 
up. Ninety-eight had the moral courage at the close of their Fresh- 
man year to resolve that they would give no concert. In September, 
1899, the Sophomore-Freshmen rope pull was discontinued. It had 
become a farce because of the upper classes mixing in. The Sopho- 
more football rush was also abandoned. It had been the custom for 
the Sophomores to cry football, football, as they marched out of 
chapel and on some day during the first week of the year for a Fresh- 
man in the choir gallery to throw a football into their midst. There 
followed a vigorous scuffle for its possession between the occupants 
of the different dormitory "ends," each group endeavoring to carry 
the ball into its own end. The rush was irreverent, delayed reci- 
tations and was somewhat dangerous. At the same time that the 
football rush was abolished the custom of class cuts at the beginning 



MISCELLANEOUS 265 

of the year was dropped, thanks to the vigorous action of President 
Hyde. 

Another event now known only to "history" is the trotting of the 
famous horse, "Triangle." Like other mythological heroes his 
origin is hid in clouds. But in the early eighties it was known to all, 
particularly to the Freshmen, that the mathematical professor, Co- 
Sine Smith, owned a famous trotter entered for the races at the 
Sagadahoc County Fair, commonly called by the students the Tops- 
ham Fair, from the town across the river from Brunswick where the 
Fair was held. A half holiday was given by the college and many an 
innocent Freshman visited the library to obtain the free tickets which 
were offered for Triangle day. Sometimes the horse was driven by 
Instructor Moody, and when Professor Smith went to Yale the 
Orient joyfully announced that Triangle would remain in Brunswick 
in charge of Professor Moody. Regular posters were printed, nam- 
ing Triangle among the horses entered for the race. Once it was 
announced that Dr. Whittier had purchased a steed Parallelo- 
piped to match against Triangle. In 1896 the Orient announced 
that Triangle was not up to his usual standard. "He is getting to 
be rather an old horse to back against the younger ones ; but he still 
finds his victims." About this time Triangle seems to have van- 
ished from the scene but he reappeared five years later and was aided 
by a vigorous propaganda. In 1904 the Portland Advertiser stated 
that Triangle had been in training for weeks and that his stable was 
guarded night and day by Sophomores. It also said that the Young 
Ladies Thursday Night Sodality of Brunswick had presented the 
driver with an embroidered blanket and that the Faculty had given 
Professor Moody a sulky with artillery wheels, pneumatic tires, satin 
cushions, twin screws and a music box attachment. In 1913 it was 
stated that Triangle had trimmed Marshall's "Mother Liquor" and 
Pewee's "Test Tube" in the 2.10 class. 

It is true that some Freshmen Sadducees held the same views con- 
cerning Triangle that Mrs. Gamp did of Mrs. Harris, but if dis- 
appointed yearlings looked in vain for Triangle was there not a 
reason? One year Professor Moody did not put him on the track 
because he feared that the old horse could not stand the strain of a 



266 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

race, another year the Professor was unable to properly prepare 
his beloved steed on account of the time demanded by his large 
classes in mathematics, a third year the judges barred the noble 
Triangle, suspecting him to be a ringer. And has not the horse 
answered to his name? Once when Professor and Mrs. Moody were 
driving by the dormitories a student shouted from his window "Whoa, 
Triangle," and the horse stopped. 

Still it must be admitted that Triangle is passing away. Peace 
to his shade, may it nibble choice grass in the Elysian Fields, for if 
his life was less dignified and useful than that of Calculus or Anna 
Lytica, yet to many of the students he has left a far more pleasant 
memory. 

The close of the required mathematical course ceased to be cele- 
brated in the early eighties. In the late nineties another "last" 
appeared, Seniors Last Gym. It seems to have started with a little 
skylarking and nonsense which gradually became more elaborate and 
serious. On one occasion an instructor was hung in effigy, on another 
a celebration of a very convivial nature was held in a hired building. 
The Faculty voted to put the whole class on probation, but to re- 
lease all whom the class president would certify took no part in the 
drinking. Only a few were actually concerned in the festivities but the 
class had voted to celebrate and therefore decided to stand together. 

The next year there was a public and lawful celebration of which 
the following account appeared in the Orient. "Last Wednesday eve- 
ning the class of 1915 celebrated with much red fire and various 
strange costumes the occasion of their last gymnasium period. In 
spite of the fact that all nationalities, sexes and religions were repre- 
sented in the motley assemblage which gathered in front of the Chap- 
el, the celebration was safe and sane throughout. Music was 
furnished for the parade by the College Band, led by Fillup Souser, 
in the person of Brierly, '18. The procession marched down to the 
Town Hall where several class cheers were given. Visits were then 
made to the homes of Doctor Whittier and President Hyde, after 
which 'Gym' was buried with great sorrow, the funeral sermon being 
delivered by Livingston, '15. 



MISCELLANEOUS 267 

"Trips were made to the old and new gymnasiums several college 
cheers were given and the funeral of 'Gym' was over." 

The funeral was substantially over in a sense not intended by the 
writer. With outdoor athletics offered as a substitute for gymna- 
sium work the training unity of the class was broken and Last Gym 
went the way of older funerals and celebrations. 

The early part of the present century was marked by the rise of 
the rally in its various forms. The first Bowdoin Night was held on 
September 25, 1903. A Portland paper summarized speeches by 
President Hyde, Professor Chapman, and "Jack" Minot, '96, and 
then said, "One of the new members of the Faculty was next called 
on, — he being a Portland boy, Kenneth Charles Morton Sills, '01, 
the instructor in English. He said, 'Such a gathering as this is some- 
thing that the college has needed for a long time and let us hope from 
now on, it will be an annual custom.' " It has developed into Alumni 
Day, a gathering of the Alumni in the fall on the day of the chief 
football game in Brunswick. They see Bowdoin in action, intel- 
lectual as well as physical, and a luncheon is held where information 
concerning the college is given and there can be an interchange of 
opinions. Commencement is mainly a rejoicing over achievements, 
Alumni Day gives regular opportunity for a discussion of problems. 
The first Alumni Day was celebrated in 1925. 

There have been various smokers and rallies, the latter term being 
substituted for smoker in deference to outside sensibilities. These 
meetings were held in the evening, usually to arouse enthusiasm for 
an athletic contest. They have been less frequent of late. They 
interfere with studying, of which there is more in college than the 
outside public realizes, and it is hoped that Bowdoin men will do their 
best without artificially pumped up enthusiasm. 

There are class days, serious and otherwise, college days and 
alumni days and now there is an entrance day for Freshmen. In 
1926 the day before the opening of the college was set apart for the 
entering class when its members were shown around and advised by 
members of the Faculty and others without a single wild Sophomore 
in sight or the cry of "fresh meat" once ringing in their terrified ears. 

The celebrations and pranks described above, if not all held on 



268 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

fixed days, yet came with great regularity. There is one which has 
happily occurred only a few times, usually as a part of Sophomore- 
Freshman rivalry, the climbing the chapel spire. It seems to have 
been done first by Elijah Kellogg who put the hat of "Old Gul," 
President William, or Guilielmus Allen, on top of the chapel spire. In 
1888 Jonathan P. Cilley, '91, and George B. Chandler, '90, put their 
class flags there. A like feat was done by Donald B. MacMillan, '97, 
and Charles D. Moulton, '98. Some years later the flag of 1903 was 
flown there, but for fear of the Faculty the names of those con- 
cerned were kept secret. 



CHAPTER VIII 
RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 



WHEN Bowdoin College was opened religion and particularly 
Evangelical Congregationalism was at a low ebb. The Great 
Awakening of 1740 did much to quicken spiritual life, but it spent its 
force after some twenty years. Soon the troubles with England began. 
Most of the Congregationalist clergy were ardent Whigs and preached 
more patriotism than piety. When war came the soldiers acquired 
habits of Sabbath breaking, profanity, gambling, and intemperance, 
and then returned to their old homes, caring little for Puritanism, 
either theological or moral. The officers had associated with those 
of the French army and often had become disciples of Voltaire. A 
little later the French Revolution bred disrespect for authority in 
church as well as state. Colleges suffered severely. In Maine, as else- 
where the Baptists and Methodists were showing a vigorous life, but 
they looked for a quickening by the "spirit" and regarded human 
learning with suspicion. In the early days of Bowdoin the students 
were usually the sons of well-to-do or rich parents, who, even if they 
cordially approved of the church, were unwilling to join it lest they 
should be obliged to give up worldly amusements like dancing and 
card playing. There was, indeed, a liberal movement among the 
Congregationalists, and men were throwing off the incubus of a rigid 
Calvinism ; but President McKeen belonged to the conservative wing 
of the church, although he was more moderate than many of his al- 
lies. President Appleton was more conservative than President 
McKeen. The authorities at Bowdoin regarded no one as religious 
unless he had been converted or at least had manifested a tendency 



270 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

toward that special religious experience by being "hopefully pious," 
and in reading pessimistic accounts of the state of the college, al- 
lowance should be made for the special views of the writers. But it 
must not be forgotten that these men, narrow as they were in some 
respects, were fighting a dangerous laxity in morals and that they 
were filled with an earnest desire for the welfare of their brothers. 

In 1858 Professor E. C. Smyth gave, in the Congregational 
Church in Brunswick, three lectures on the religious history of Bow- 
doin until the close of President Allen's administration. Professor 
Smyth was a son of Professor William Smyth and had excellent op- 
portunities of obtaining information. He was an orthodox Congre- 
gationalist minister and was probably, at that time, more narrow 
than when, thirty years later, he became the center of the Andover 
Controversy. He stated that in 1802, the year of the beginning of 
instruction at Bowdoin, there were few settled infidels in the Bruns- 
wick region, but that there was a general paralysis of faith and that 
the pulpit was affected. "Sinners, if they attended the sanctuary, in 
very many of our parishes could sit Sabbath after Sabbath and hear 
nothing which touched the conscience. One good man who preached 
here as a candidate, so that a sense of sin was awakened in the 
bosoms of some of his hearers, was refused a call for this reason 
alone. The degeneracy of doctrine was nearly as marked as the 
corruption of morals and this was fearful. In several parishes of 
this vicinity the ministers were viciously intemperate. Rum flowed 
down our streets. Sabbath-breaking and profaneness were greatly 
prevalent. The population had outgrown the means of education. 
There was little religious instruction afforded the young — they 
were seldom catechised. There were no Sabbath schools. Moral 
restraints generally were deplorably relaxed. It was a rare spectacle 
if a young man confessed before men his Redeemer. Very few of the 
young men were members of the churches. During the first four years 
of Dr. McKeen's presidency, though some of the students were 
thoughtful, upright and possessed of fine social qualities, there was 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 271 

not one, it is believed, who was a member of any church or who be-^ 
lieved and hoped in Christ as his Saviour ... In the first eight classes, 
I can learn of but one who may have been deemed, at the time of ad- 
mission, hopefully pious, and it is doubtful whether he had made a 
public profession of religion." The influence of this student and of a 
tutor, acting, it was believed, with the approval of President Apple- 
ton, secured the formation of a college theological society. Profes- 
sor Smyth says that the meetings were usually held on Sunday eve- 
nings and that "the exercises were the discussion of some passage of 
Scripture, and dissertations upon theological and ethical questions. 
Personal piety was not made a qualification of membership, and the 
object of the society was not directly a practical one. Still its insti- 
tution marks the beginning of religious progress. It organized the 
more sedate and thoughtful, and turned their attention to religious 
themes, and to the teachings of the Bible." 

But the early progress, moderate as it was, was not maintained 
Professor Smyth states that, "During the first term of the academic 
year 1811-1812, — the whole number of students being upwards of 
thirty, — there was not one among them who had made a profession 
of religion. The interest in the Theological Society became nearly 
extinct and few, if any, came forward to take the places of those of 
its members who had graduated. It was regarded by most with feel- 
ings of bitter opposition. The greater part of the students appear 
to have been thoughtless. Not a few were reckless and openly im- 
moral, some of whom formed habits of intemperance which clung to 
them in later life and brought them to a dishonored grave. 

"Notwithstanding these discouragements, the President abated 
not in heart or hope or zeal. He enforced the requisite discipline 
with prudence and paternal kindness, but with uniform and unshrink- 
ing firmness, and in a way which deeply impressed upon the students 
the conviction of the necessity of law and the guilt of its violation. 
He sought constantly to bring the truths and sanctions of religion to 
bear upon the conscience. When the moral stupor which prevailed 
seemed most profound it is related that he once requested the stu- 



n 



272 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

dents to remain after evening prayers, and then read to them, with 
all the impressiveness of manner he could command, the narrative of 
the death of the backslider and free thinker, Sir Francis Newport. 
The effect produced at the time by its reading was very marked. 
The friend who gave me the incident said, that the next morning he 
obtained without difficulty, twelve or fourteen members for the 
Theological Society, not one of whom before had been willing to join 
it. The revival of this society was an important measure uniting and 
organizing, as it did, all who were willing to be ranked upon the side 
of good morals. Of still more consequence was the fact, that at 
about this time a new element began to appear in College life, — that 
of humble, earnest, devoted and aggressive piety." Among the first 
Bowdoin men to manifest these qualities at college were Frederic 
Southgate and James Cargill. 

Frederic Southgate was the son of Robert Southgate, a wealthy 
and influential resident of Scarborough, and of Elizabeth King, a sis- 
ter of Rufus and a half-sister of William King. Frederic graduated 
from Bowdoin with honor, and began the study of law in Portland, 
but the sermons of Rev. Mr. Payson changed the whole current of 
his thoughts and he resolved to devote himself to preaching the gos- 
pel. While studying theology with Mr. Payson he was offered, and 
accepted, a tutorship at Bowdoin. Here he combined his duties as 
instructor and his life-work in what seems today an extraordinary 
fashion. A pupil of his wrote in later years that often at the close 
of a recitation, "he would shut up his Horace and most affectionate- 
ly and seriously urge those present to acquaint themselves with God 
and be at peace with Him." It was a strange combination, Horace 
and an Evangelical sermon, certainly a less appropriate one than 
that made, in his student days, by an instructor of the twentieth 
century. This honor to the college, who led his class and graduated 
summa cum laude, told the author, with little appearance of contri- 
tion that it had been his custom to sit in the window of his entry with 
a copy of Horace in his hand and paper bags filled with water at his 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 273 

feet, and simultaneously to read the Roman poet and keep an eye 
out for passing Freshmen. 

Under Southgate's influence religious students of the "Orthodox" 
type held weekly meetings, originating a practice which endured, 
though with important modifications, for a hundred years. Mr. 
Southgate had only begun his work when his health failed and he 
was obliged to return to his home, where he died on May 29, 1815, 
before completing his twenty-second year. His mantle fell upon 
one of the students, James Cargill of Newcastle, who had been his 
active assistant. Cargill was a very different man from Southgate, 
and if judged by outward appearance, seemed ill fitted for carrying 
on his work. Awkward, plain of feature, pale and stooping, rustic 
in his manners, he was what today is called a "hick." Nor, though 
of good intelligence, was he a man of brilliant parts. He was also 
extremely poor and received financial assistance both open and 
secret. Yet in spite of all these disadvantages Cargill, by his deep 
but unobtrusive piety, and his cordial good fellowship, won both the 
respect and the affection of the students. Unfortunately, he suc- 
ceeded not only to Southgate's leadership but to his fate. Cargill 
was consumptive when he entered college ; he gave little or no atten- 
tion to his health while there ; at Commencement his weakness obliged 
him to crawl up the steps of the speakers' platform, and he died in 
less than a month after receiving his degree. 

The loss of both Southgate and Cargill seemed a heavy blow to 
evangelical religion at Bowdoin; but their work was quickly taken 
up, and in a more effective and permanent manner. In 1813 three 
young men, Rodney G. Dennis, Ebeneezer Cheever, and Phineas 
Pratt, who had already begun their life-work in the ministry, entered 
Bowdoin with the purpose, as Professor Smyth says, not only of 
receiving good, but of doing good in Christ's name. They obtained 
much help from Tutor Enos Merrill, who had been appointed to his 
position the year after Southgate's death. In 1815 there was received 
at the Brunswick post office a letter from the Praying Society of Brown 
University directed to the Praying Society of Bowdoin College. 
There was no such organization; but, stimulated by the action of 



274 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Brown, the six "professors of religion" in college met in Dennis' 
room 1 and formed the Praying Society of Bowdoin College. The 
title was later changed to that of the Bowdoin Praying Circle ; per- 
haps because there were many "societies" and the term was thought 
to have a worldly sound. 

The object of the Society was declared by the first constitution to 
be, "to pray for the influence of Divine Grace upon ourselves, upon 
this institution [Bowdoin] and upon the world at large." The Consti- 
tution provided that elections to membership must be unanimous ; 
that each member should give "charitable evidence that he is a real 
Christian ;" and that on being admitted he should, "in a brief manner, 
state the reasons of his hope, and give his assent to the fundamental 
doctrines of the gospel." The officers were to be a president, a vice 
president, and a secretary, the president must be a member of the 
highest class represented in the society. The secretary was to act 
as treasurer, to pay all bills of the society out of his own pocket, and 
to be reimbursed by a tax levied at the close of the college year. 
Fortunately for the secretary the expenses were extremely small. 
There are such entries in the records as, "Paid Brother Flagg 12L£,^ 
for letter which subtracted from 52^ leaves 4*0f in the treasury. — 
Sec. received from former Treas. 40^. Postage for the year past 
amounted to that sum. Hence the treasury is empty." The records 
of March 3, 1835, inform us that, "A contribution of 83 cents was 
taken up to defray certain expenses." In 1856 there was a hope, but 
it is to be feared, a vain one, that some Rockefellers in miniature 
would come forward to meet a financial crisis. The records state that 
"The expenses for the past year have been $3.50, to pay this it will 
be necessary to tax each member the sum of ten cents unless some few 
will contribute to pay the whole." In the records of 1871 there ap- 
pears a desire for physical comfort which may denote a lessening of 
the ancient Spartan consecration. In November of that year it was 
voted, "that Mr. Boker [sic] be paid satisfactorily for building the 

1 For a number of years the religious meetings were held in the students' rooms ; 
later the authorities allowed one of the recitation rooms to be used for this pur- 
pose. Many of the meetings were not "general" but of members of the same class 
only. 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 275 

fires [for the Circle] each Sunday morning during the winter." The 
next winter $1.50 was expended for this purpose. 

The records 2 of the Circle were kept in a most pious manner. Not 
only are there statements of the moral and religious condition of the 
college, but many ejaculations and prayers, such as, "Oh that the 
Lord would have mercy on the Students. — Were much disturbed by 
the noise of the students. O may the time soon come when they 
shall leave their vain amusements to assemble with us for the pur- 
pose of supplicating the mercy and grace of God upon their souls 
and ours. A large class soon to graduate and not half of them 
even profess godliness and nearly 2/3 of those in college are in the 
path to hell." On another occasion the secretary noted that there 
had been no recent conversions, and that "many were declining from 
the ardor of their first love and yielding too easily to the torrent of 
godlessness which still rolls fearfully through our midst." Yet the 
aspect was not always dark. Under date of February 19, 1833, 
there is the entry, "May every meeting of this term savor of piety 
as much as this." In 1853 the secretary wrote in his records the en- 
couraging statement: "The general moral aspect of the college is, 
by the admission of all, much better during the present year than 
has been observed of many past years." In 1855 he reported the 
moral condition as steadily improving. 

For a number of years the Circle maintained relations with similar 
institutions at other colleges. Members were appointed to - solicit a 
correspondence with the "pious students" at Harvard and Yale, 
probably in response to letters received from them. The records 
also note letters written to or received from students of Princeton, 
Colgate, Dartmouth, Waterville, and Middlebury. Particular care 
for Bowdoin was shown by various religious organizations in Maine. 
In 1821 the members of the Congregationalist Church in Augusta 

2 The records are now in the college archives. On the inside of the cover of the 
first volume is written, in a hand suggesting that of an old man, 
"There comes a voice that awakes my soul, — 
It is the voice of years that are gone, — 
They pass before me with their deeds." 

Ossian. 



276 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

pledged themselves specially to remember the college in their prayers, 
and in 1822 the "young converts" at North Yarmouth agreed to meet 
every Wednesday morning and pray for Bowdoin. The record of the 
Praying Circle of May 11, 1844, says that "A communication was 
read from Bangor Seminary. It stated that great interest was felt 
in the Seminary for a revival in this college, that they were having 
daily prayer meetings and were besieging the throne of Grace on our 
behalf. They encouraged us to institute such a meeting or to have 
some particular hour to pray for a revival here. The brethren agreed 
on a certain hour in each day when each would in his closet approach 
the throne of Grace." 

The Circle on its part noted the progress of religion outside the 
college. On May 6, 1816, the secretary made the record: "A very 
interesting letter read from Brown University stating various and 
extensive revivals of religion. We ought to rejoice." Two years 
later there is the record: "Heard joyful accounts from Amherst. 
The Lord is doing a great work there." On another occasion the 
tidings were less definite. The entry runs : "Had some information 
that there was an apparent seriousness among the townspeople — 
one woman had obtained a hope. O that the Lord would come this 
way and subdue the prevalence of vice among us." 

The fixing of the requirements for membership in a church or 
other religious society is a difficult problem. Laxity brings reproach 
on its cause, rigidity may lead to Pharisaism. The original condi- 
tions of membership in the Circle were strict ; they seem, however, 
to have been liberally interpreted. On October 3, 1816, "those of 
the new members of college, who hope in God's mercy through a 
Redeemer, and those under serious impressions" were admitted. In 
1821 the constitution was revised and a provision was inserted that 
"No person of serious deportment and good moral character shall 
be excluded from the privilege of meeting with the Society for social 
religious worship" ; and a committee was appointed to ascertain 
what students were hopefully pious, and to invite them to join. Those 
who sought admission were seldom refused it. Probably the Circle was 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 277 

too straight -laced for anyone to desire entrance who was not "ortho- 
dox" and "pious." Yet the gate was sometimes shut, at least tem- 
porarily. On October 13, 1816, it was voted "Sophomore Ingra- 
ham to be examined at some future meeting, after the members have 
had opportunity for private conversation with him." Later an ex- 
amination was held but he was "not received into our number." One 
wonders why, for Nehemiah Cleaveland calls him in his history, "A 
most amiable and pious youth," and when he died, four years after 
graduation, he was preparing for the ministry. 

Similar to, but even more difficult than the question of admission, is 
that of the treatment of members whose conduct is unsatisfactory. 
We know from Cyrus Hamlin's autobiography that men were kept 
out of the Circle or found an excuse for staying out because of the 
failings, real or supposed, of prominent members. Yet the Circle 
exercised a supervision over the brothers. From time to time it 
instituted moral and spiritual house-cleanings, and when remon- 
strance failed, removed dead branches. Sometimes the offenses were 
grave, such as quarrelling and lying, but more often the delinquents 
were only guilty of the moderate use of wine, dancing, and card 
playing, or of neglecting to attend meetings. The "pious students" 
honestly felt that it was their duty to Christ to manifest their 
superiority to worldly allurements, and this belief appears repeated- 
ly in the records of cases of discipline. Such a conception of duty 
was not necessarily Pharisaic. In 1859 a special day of prayer was 
appointed in behalf of four members of the Circle who had acted in 
a manner contrary to its principles, and the secretary recorded that 
"It was the first instance of the kind that has been brought before the 
Circle 3 and conscious as we are of our own sinfulness we know not 
how to act for the best interests of Christ's kingdom." Ultimately 
one member resigned, two were dismissed, and the fourth expressed 
penitence and was restored. 

The most interesting case of discipline, because of the impor- 
tance of the members concerned, is also the one which reflects 

3 There had been previous cases of cutting off members, perhaps the secretary 
did not know of them. 



278 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

most discredit on the Circle. In April, 1837, a committee was ap- 
pointed to examine the state of delinquent members and it re- 
ported charges against two Seniors with great futures before them, 
John A. Andrew, the war-governor of Massachusetts, and Fordyce 
Barker, the eminent physician. At the meeting to consider the 
accusations Andrew rose before they were presented, stated that 
he was obliged to leave in a few minutes, and, by permission, read 
a formal protest. He then withdrew. Most of the charges ap- 
plied to Andrew and Barker equally. It was alleged that they did 
not manifest a Christian character, that they had failed to attend 
meetings of the Circle, and that, disregarding the wishes of their 
brethren, they had gone to the "Saltando" (perhaps a travelling 
gymnastic show). Andrew was also accused of singing obscene songs 
and using filthy conversation. The charges were held to be sustained 
and the delinquents were ordered to appear at a certain time to re- 
ceive admonition. Both refused. Andrew wrote that he would, 
with the permission of the Circle, attend at their next regular meet- 
ing. Barker sent notice that he considered himself and wished the 
Circle to consider him no longer subject to its discipline. But the 
Circle evidently felt that it had gone too far. Instead of dismissing 
Andrew and Barker it voted that the standing committee should 
confer with them and try to effect a reconciliation. It also directed 
the committee to look into the proceedings of the Circle to see "if 
the course pursued by it has been the most judicious and report at 
the next meeting." As far as the records show, no report was made 
and no reconciliation was effected. But it is to the credit of the 
Circle that it manifested a desire to retrace its steps. Probably the 
committee on delinquents was composed of some of the narrowest 
men in a narrow organization. We can hear without surprise or 
grief that Andrew and Barker had been cutting the meetings and 
that they had gone to a circus. But the statement that they did 
not manifest a Christian character is most astonishing. An inti- 
mate friend and colleague of Fordyce Barker says that when his 
every moment was of value, he never showed impatience if called 
upon to render professional aid to old friends overtaken by adversity. 




George Evans 
James Ware Bradbury 



John Albion Andrew 
Melville Weston Fuller 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 279 

Andrew's principal biographer says truly, "His great labors for his 
country and for a despised race [the negro] had been but a part of 
his daily obedience to the command: 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor 
as thyself " ; and on the semi-centennial of Andrew's graduation 
President Hyde in his baccalaureate sermon exhorted such Seniors 
as were to be lawyers to "seek glory along the lines of Christian faith 
in God, and Christian love for man where your brother alumnus of 
fifty years ago the war governor of Massachusetts, found a place of 
honor in God's approval, and a nation's gratitude." Of the obscen- 
ity we cannot judge, because no instances are given. Andrew was 
a jolly, fun-loving youth, he was barely nineteen when he graduated, 
and he may have allowed himself to use indecent language, but such 
conduct does not seem in accordance with his nature; and doubtless 
the Circle, which disapproved of going to the post office on Sunday, 
was easily shocked. 

A religious organization must not only decide on and maintain 
standards for its members but should, in all proper ways, influence 
others to join it. Here the Circle partially failed. Members, in- 
deed, engaged actively in college revivals and at times appeals were 
made to individuals, but on the whole the Circle, in its desire to walk 
separate from sinners, was often guilty of unchristian clannishness. 
Professor E. C. Smyth, after giving well-deserved praise to some of 
the leaders of the Circle, says : "They did not come fully up to the 
true standard of Christian charity, fidelity, courage and hopefulness, 
in approaching those supposed to be thoughtless. A certain circle 
had some reason to suppose that they were abandoned to ruin by 
the professedly pious students. The Christian men waited for this 
class to come to them with the question, What must we do to be 
saved? They on the other hand, waited to have the subject intro- 
duced by Christians, — and so, in some instances, the silence was 
never broken." An alumnus who had been converted after his gradu- 
ation, said : "The lines of distinction were drawn in College marked 
and distinct between the pious and those not pious. The pious 
roomed by themselves, associated by themselves, and went by them- 



280 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

selves. The gay and thoughtless were on their part obliged to go 
by themselves, or obtrude themselves upon the company of others." 
Elijah Kellogg gave similar testimony. 

But in spite of this unjustifiable reserve the Circle did exert a 
strong and beneficent influence. Professor Smyth follows the criti- 
cism quoted above with the statement : "Yet there was in the College, 
a constant, steady flame of piety. There were examples, and those 
not a few, that shone unintermittingly brightly. There were true- 
hearted Christians, who, to use the testimony of those not then of 
their number, exerted a powerful moral influence, and upheld the 
standard of the gospel, and made religion respected even by those 
who resisted its claims." 

The Circle occasionally took formal notice of events in the college, 
but none of those in the outer world not directly connected with re- 
ligion. Prayers were offered for President Appleton during his last 
illness, and the burning of Maine Hall was recognized as a deserved 
punishment by a just God, but the Circle was apparently untouched 
by the anti-slavery movement, and there is no reference in the rec- 
ords to the Civil War or to the murder of Abraham Lincoln. Yet 
with all these deficiencies a great work of a certain type was done. 
Many revivals were held, the Circle lent earnest aid and there were 
what has been termed "clusters" of conversions. 

Among the men whose lives were thus changed were Henry Boyn- 
ton Smith, Daniel Raynes Goodwin and Samuel Harris. There was 
also a great improvement in the morals of the students. In 1850 
Calvin E. Stowe of the class of 1824 was called to a professorship 
at Bowdoin and he was so impressed by what he found there that he 
declared that if there were as great an advance in the next quarter 
of a century as there had been in the last, the college would be all 
that could be expected of a human institution before the millenium. 
Unfortunately this happy situation was not attained. In 1868, in- 
deed, Professor Packard reported, in his capacity as Collins Pro- 
fessor, that is, as special adviser of the students in morals and re- 
ligion, that "There has been scarcely any call for the interposition 
of the authority of the college, and scarcely an instance has come to 






Calvin Ellis Stowe 
Charles Carroll Everett 



Daniel Raynes Goodwin 
Elijah Kellogg 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 281 

his knowledge of dissipation or intemperance among the students, 
which from his long connection with the institution he thinks is with- 
out example in its history." But the ensuing years were a period of 
great disorder, unfavorable both to the growth and to the reputa- 
tion of the college. In religious matters, too, there was a decline, 
at least if the old Evangelicism be taken as a standard. It was said 
that the Faculty and professed Christians, members of the Praying 
Circle, neglected the Saturday evening "lectures," that is, religious^ 
addresses. A correspondent of the Orient wrote: "Three members 
of our Faculty at the prayer-meeting, and four at the dance across ? 
the walk. A theme for the moralist." There was a demand for new 
methods. In 1876 the Orient urged that class prayer meetings be 
changed to praise meetings which, it said, "With singing would be 
both pleasant and profitable." In the following January it recom- 
mended that such meetings be substituted at times for the Saturday 
evening lectures. "For it is true that many persons will attend a 
service of song gladly, who will not of themselves attend a sermon." 
The Praying Circle grew weaker although it was given two rooms in 
North Maine and old members furnished them "in an attractive and 
suitable manner." The Circle itself recognized that its work was 
done and in 1882 voted to become a branch of the Young Men's 
Christian Association. The' Orient gave the change a somewhat 
guarded approval. It said that it was argued that there would be 
an increase of usefulness from the assumption of a grander name and 
from becoming part of an association which extended through the 
principal colleges. "So, perhaps in payment for the loss of the old 
Praying Circle in which we have all taken so much pride, we may 
fairly expect to see at once a decided increase in religious feeling 
and work among the students." 

The Association began with frequent meetings, much zeal was 
shown and much success attained. About ten years later a student 
said that the informal, practical talks delivered by the professors 
had done him more good than all the sermons he ever heard, and 
another undergraduate stated, in substance, that the influence of the 
steady following of Christ's example by the men in the Association 



282 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

had done more than anything else to induce him to acknowledge 
Christ. But full membership in the Bowdoin Y.M.C.A. was, by the 
law of the national body, limited to church members. The "Liber- 
als" felt insulted at being excluded ipso facto from a Christian asso- 
ciation and in time the rule came to bear hardly on Congregational- 
ists themselves. Many students believed in the principles of the "High- 
er Criticism," and were unable to accept the creeds of their home 
churches. In 1894, on the report of a committee specially ap- 
pointed to examine the subject, the requirement for membership was 
reduced to belief in "One God, the Father Almighty, and in one Lord 
Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit." The Orient, in an article 
approving the change, stated that thirty-three Seniors had gradu- 
ated at the last Commencement, that only four of them were church 
members, that the proportion would not vary greatly in the other 
classes and that — "Men who had as much right to the full privi- 
leges of the Association as those who happened to be members 
of a church, were by the constitution, refused those privileges. That 
this refusal to admit some men to full privileges worked harm, no 
one acquainted with the facts will deny." But it proved extremely 
difficult to frame a satisfactory rule of admission. The one chosen 
excluded the Bowdoin organization from the national Y.M.C.A., and 
in March, 1899, the Bowdoin Association by a unanimous vote 
adopted the old conditions of admission. These were soon disre- 
garded in practice, but the nominal sectarianism proved an obstacle 
to the success of the Y.M.C.A. at Bowdoin, and it seceded once 
more. Yet admission almost without conditions made for flabbiness, 
and it was voted that membership should be limited to those who 
wished to become disciples of Jesus Christ in life and service. Any 
condition, however, may keep out students whose membership would 
benefit both themselves and the Association, and now every man who 
is admitted to Bowdoin becomes thereby a member of its "Christian 
Association" which, however, is frequently called the Y.M.C.A. The 
Association shares in the proceeds of the "blanket tax" and for 
several years the interest of an old endowment given for the religious 
and moral instruction and assistance of the students was used for 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 283 

the payment of a secretary who was a member of the Faculty and 
did some teaching. 

The aims and methods of the Y.M.C.A. have undergone a change 
similar to that of the requirements for membership. For many 
years the Association had at least two meetings a week, one on 
Sunday with an address, often by a member of the Faculty or a 
local or visiting clergyman ; and the other a student prayer meeting, 
on a week day; the former was usually an afternoon, the latter an 
evening service. In the fall and early winter of 1898 students, who 
certainly proved their faith by their works, met at the Y.M.C.A. 
rooms on Sunday at seven in the morning, for Bible study and pray- 
er. Later in the winter the time was changed to five p.m. and the 
meetings were held in the students' rooms, evidence, perhaps, that few 
came to them. Despite the earnest efforts of a part of the students, 
attendance at all the meetings declined. Some of them were abolished 
and then revived. The tendency was to have fewer services, but abler 
and more stimulating speakers. Some of these drew large audiences 
and there have been well attended classes for the study of matters 
connected with religion. It is nevertheless true that some religious 
exercises have been abandoned and others modified, and that the 
change has been regarded by many as a sad declension ; but there is 
both student and Faculty testimony that this was a tranformation 
rather than a loss. The Orient in January, 1901, said of theY.M. 
C.A. : "The first meeting of the term, the year, and the century 
was a good starter for the work to be carried on for a few years by 
us, then by whom? But we can rest assured that it will not die or 
languish for any length of time in this new century, any more than it 
has in the last. Interest in prayer meetings may not be so lively and 
general as it was a dozen years ago when the Orient chronicles class 
prayer meetings held by Freshmen and Juniors ; but real Christian 
work, if quiet, is going on as strongly as ever. And those who drop 
into these Thursday evening meetings find there is much inspiration 
and help." In 1906 President Hyde said of the Christian Associa- 
tion : "Looking at the matter broadly, I feel confident that while its 
type is practical, not sentimental, while it is more interested in Chris- 



284 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

tian helpfulness and service than in intense and protracted prayer 
meetings, the life of the Bowdoin undergraduate today is as whole- 
somely religious as it has been in any period of the college's history, 
and that the ideals given to the world by the strong and manly Christ 
are deepening their hold upon our student body." 

The Y.M.C.A. 4 has engaged in various extra-college activities. 
One closely related to its original purpose was the giving financial 
assistance to the "Bowdoin missionary" in India, A. S. Hiwale, a 
graduate of the class of 1909. The Association has also aided Dr. 
Grenfel in his work in Labrador. Much of its work, however, has 
been done nearer home. Members have gone among the poor in the 
neighborhood of Brunswick, and have acted as leaders of boys' gym- 
nastic clubs. They have also done deputation work, visiting churches 
and schools to give religious teaching to the young people. But 
these missions, though at first successful, often put young men into 
situations for which they were not fit. Greater care was then used 
in the choice of deputies, their work was first confined to schools, and 
then discontinued entirely. Conferences with Y.M.C.A. students at 
other colleges were also held, but are said to have proved of little 
worth. Professor Langley, the Faculty Secretary of the Y.M.C.A., 
reported that "Our attitude toward student conferences is pessi- 
mistic. We believe that in spite of the sincerity of purpose and ef- 
fort of their promoters, the results are largely negative. The spirit 
of repugnance often displayed by students is justified by the appar- 
ent commercialized appeals and sentimentalism." 

The Y.M.C.A. has benefited students in other than religious ways. 
It has welcomed the entering class with a reception, published a 
handbook of information, the "Freshman Bible," for their benefit 
and conducted an information bureau at the beginning of the year. 
Poor students have been aided to obtain secondhand textbooks, sick 
students have been visited. 

The home of the Y.M.C.A. has been changed several times. At 
first it had quarters in Maine, it was then moved to Winthrop, and 

4 By this term is meant the principal student religious organization since 1883, 
whatever its formal title. 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 285 

when that Hall was renovated it obtained the use of Professor Chap- 
man's recitation room in Massachusetts. In minor matters the 
change was both fortunate and unfortunate. There was no need of 
a carpet and the Association sold its old one for $16.50 ; but it found 
the new quarters too dark and a committee was appointed to con- 
sult President Hyde "about having one or two more electric lights 
put into Professor Chapman's room and if possible, to have the col- 
lege pay for the same." After the erection of Hubbard Hall the As- 
sociation was given quarters in the old library. At present it has 
no official residence. A number of meetings have been held in Pro- 
fessor Burnett's "summer house" and in the different chapter houses. 
A custom consonant with the spirit which gave life to the Praying 
Circle and the early Y.M.C.A., but which was not in accordance 
with the feelings and ways of later times, was the observance of a 
Day of Prayer for Colleges. Early in the nineteenth century some 
of the churches designated one day in the year on which prayers 
should be offered for colleges and other seminaries of learning, and 
in which these institutions should, themselves, participate. At Bow- 
doin, as at other New England colleges, the day was observed by the 
omission of recitations and the holding of long and earnest prayer- 
meetings. But the religious habits of the students changed with 
those of the public in general, they came to treat the day of prayer 
simply as a day off and it became a joke. The Orient of February 
8, 1899, said that the recent Day of Prayer would probably be the 
last. "The meaning and sense of the day has long been forgotten and 
its only significance is that some well-known divine preaches in King's 
Chapel before about a dozen students and some two hundred old 
ladies living about Brunswick ... in the olden times it was the custom 
to set apart one day in the year during which every one connected 
with the college, and all its friends should pray for its welfare and 
good work. The prayer began early in the morning and lasted 
nearly all day. There certainly is not the religious fervor in col- 
lege today that existed here thirty years ago. It is a different sort 
of feeling altogether. It should be maintained, however, that the 
average collegian today is better equipped morally to encounter the 



286 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

trials and temptations of the world outside, and that is the main 
thing to consider so far as a college course is concerned." 

In 1900 the first Sunday in February was made the Day of Prayer, 
President Hyde declaring that the change was "necessary to pre- 
vent the day from degenerating into an academic counterpart of 
Fast Day." 

The Praying Circle and its successors have been the chief religious 
associations at Bowdoin but the Theological Society also played an 
important part. Its founding and early years have been noticed 
above. The details of its work before 1836 are little known for the 
fire of that year which gutted Maine Hall destroyed its records. 
A new book, however, was bought and a constitution, which was 
probably the old one restored from memory, was duly entered. 

The preamble stated that, "Deeply interested in the inquiry 
'What is truth' and sensible that a free interchange of thought by 
means of friendly discussion is one of the best adapted instruments 
for obtaining correct principles, we, therefore, form ourselves into 
a society to be governed by the following, 

Constitution" 

The meetings were held fortnightly, at each there were two dis- 
sertations and two forensics, the question was then open to general 
discussion and on the conclusion of the debate a vote was taken. The 
Society resembled the Literary Societies, it had an initiation, though 
a simple one, a pledge of secrecy, public anniversary celebrations, 
and a library. As befitted a religious society, its meetings were 
opened and closed with prayer, and the subjects of discussion usually 
related to religious matters. 

The debates were sometimes protracted and hard fought. In 1837 
the Society discussed for three successive meetings the question, "Is 
immersion essential to baptism" ; it is recorded that one member read 
"a long and labored argument," and that another talked for an hour. 
The society decided in favor of the negative by a vote of ten noes to 
two undecided. Evolution, transcendentalism, the withholding of 
the Bible from the slaves and from the common people, and, after 
the Revolution of 1848, the fitness of the French for a Republican 
form of government, were all discussed. The questions might be 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 287 

highly theoretical or extremely practical. On March 29, 1837, the 
society debated, "with considerable interest," the question, "Will 
there ever be a time, when all the people upon earth will become right- 
eous ?" Another question considered was, "Whether natives of Maine 
residing in the state and preparing for the ministry ought to remain 
in the state." The society voted fifteen to six that they should do 
so. But the most immediately important subject was that discussed 
on August 6, 1843. It was "Can a theological society be honorably 
sustained in this college," and the negative won by a large majority. 
For some time interest had been declining, and efforts to revive it 
proved unavailing. The Society fell into debt and the meetings were 
poorly attended and frequently omitted altogether. A debate as- 
signed for July 26, 1847, was held exactly one year later. On July 
13, 1850, the society voted to suspend its meetings indefinitely, as- 
signing as reasons that "there are now so many other societies in 
college, in which students may exercise their talent for forensic dis- 
putation and so many other ways to take up their time." The li- 
brary was deposited with the Praying Circle, which, soon after, for 
its greater security, transferred it to the college. 

In the period under consideration foreign missions were regarded 
as having a right to financial and personal aid from churches and 
from individual Christians. The religious students of Bowdoin ac- 
knowledged this claim. A proposal was made to change the name 
and purpose of the Theological Society so as to make it also a mis- 
sionary society. The attempt failed but the society held up a high 
standard for missions by voting eight to three, one undecided, that 
"missionaries ought not under any circumstances to defend them- 
selves by force of arms." The Praying Circle took a keen interest 
in work for the heathen. Early in its history an addition was made 
to its constitution providing for a Monthly Missionary Concert, by 
which was meant a meeting for prayer for missions at the same time 
as other religious institutions held them, and a discussion of the mis- 
sionary problem — not an elaborate rendering of Greenland's Icy 
Mountains. On May 8, 1833, the Circle met to bid farewell to two 
missionaries, Samuel Munson of the class of 1829 and his com- 
panion, Henry Lyman of Amherst, who had been taking a short 



288 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

course at the Medical School preparatory to missionary work in the 
East Indian Archipelago. 

The records say: "It made our hearts ache while we took their 
hands and pressed them for the last time. They have made a deep 
impression on our minds, enlarged our views of duty and led us to 
look on the world with new feelings." The farewell was a final one. 
Within a little over a year Lyman and Munson were murdered and 
probably eaten by a war-band of cannibals in Sumatra. 

A Missionary Society of Inquiry was formed in the Praying Circle 
and Dr. Cyrus Hamlin late in life expressed regret that it had ac- 
complished so little. But a fair number of Bowdoin men have served 
as missionaries and their record is good. It is true that the supply 
rather suddenly ceased, but President Hyde stated that this was 
due to the fact that the Congregationalist foreign missions had fal- 
len into the hands of an ultra conservative faction under whom no 
man of independent character would wish to serve. 

The Orient of 1910 gives a brief account of the Bowdoin mission- 
aries. It says : "Asa Dodge, '27, went to Syria as a missionary and 
physician in 1832; three years later he died of fever in Jerusalem, 
because he had hurried too fast to the bedside of a sick man." Mun- 
son's death is then mentioned. "Horatio Southgate, '32, devoted 
the fifteen best years of his life to mission work in Turkey and Per- 
sia. 5 Daniel Dole, a fine teacher, went to the Sandwich Islands in 
1841, took charge of a school and later was president of Oahu Col- 
lege. Elias Bond went to the Sandwich Islands and Hawaii in 1841 
and gave forty years of his life to the work there, in that time taking 
a vacation of two weeks in 1869. Crosby H. Wheeler, '47, was sent 
to Harpoot in East Turkey in 1855 and there founded Armenia 
College. B. G. Snow, '46, was assigned to the island of Kuaie in 
Micronesia in 1852. He was the first to reduce the island language 
to a written form. He issued in it a primer, spelling books, readers, 
a hymn book, and translations of the Gospels, Acts and some of the 
Epistles, and a church manual. James S. Phillips, '60, was the son 
of a missionary, was born in India, and gave himself to the work in 
that country. Perhaps the most famous of the Bowdoin missionaries 

5 This is an error, Mr. Southgate's service abroad was considerably shorter. 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 289 

was Cyrus Hamlin, '34, whose model steam engine is now in the 
Physics laboratory. He went out to Turkey in 1839. His skill was 
tried many times as he had to thwart French and Jesuit intrigues. 
It is a matter of history how he improved the sanitary condition of 
the military hospitals during the Crimean War, how to provide em- 
ployment for poor Protestant Armenians, he started a bakery and 
supplied a great British camp with bread. He turned over the 
profits of this enterprise, $25,000, to the Missionary Board. His 
greatest work was the establishment of Robert College in Constan- 
tinople, which he accomplished after a long conflict of skill and di- 
plomacy. The magnificent site and buildings and grounds of this 
college constitute a splendid monument to the energy and foresight 
of this Bowdoin alumnus. At present [1910] there are living four 
Bowdoin missionaries. Joseph K. Greene, '55, is still in Constan- 
tinople, just now in charge of the publication of periodicals in Ar- 
menian and Turkish in the Armenian alphabet, and Turkish in the 
Greek alphabet, after fifty years of service from 1859 to 1909; 
Americus Fuller, '59, who went to Aintab, Turkey, in 1874, who has 
taught in Central Turkey College and who has been President of 
Euphrates College, has but recently retired from active work ; Dr. 
Charles S. F. Lincoln, '91, is at the present day a useful medical 
missionary at St. John's College, Shanghai, China." 

There have been few distinctively denominational societies at 
Bowdoin. Students of evangelical affiliations joined the Pray- 
ing Circle and the Y.M.C.A., those connected with other churches 
usually have been too few to maintain separate organizations. In 
the eighteen-twenties the Unitarians at Bowdoin banded themselves 
together. In November, 1824, Longfellow wrote to a friend, of "our 
little Unitarian Society at Bowdoin." "I wish," he said, "something 
could be done for us; we are as small as a grain of mustard seed. 
There are but six members now, in college, and our library is limited 
to a hundred or two volumes. I wish you would exert your influence 
in our behalf." The society seems to have prospered for a time, for 
on August 31, 1829, Peter Thacher wrote to C. S. Daveis, the Port- 
land lawyer and orator, that he had been made an honorary member. 
Mr. Thacher said that there were two classes of members, honorary 



290 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

and immediate. The latter were undergraduates, of whom there 
were about twenty in the society, "Our objects," he said, "are . . . 
the awakening attention to the great truths of religion and of a 
spirit of free inquiry into them and the diffusion of liberal views. We 
have a library which though small contains much useful matter. It 
has increased very rapidly within a year, chiefly by donations." The 
society seems, however, to have quietly disappeared, perhaps the 
founding of a Unitarian church in Brunswick rendered it less 
necessary. 

Beside the strictly religious societies there have been at Bowdoin 
several organizations for promoting moral reforms. Temperance 
societies were founded, flourished, died and were re-born. John A. 
Andrew founded a peace society of which he was the first president. 
The society had a library of several hundred books and pamphlets, 
the gift of Captain Ladd of Minot who devoted his life to denouncing 
all war. There was an anti-slavery society, established through the 
influence of Professor Smyth. Kind-hearted conservatism, which 
wished for reform without disturbance, attempted to lead the aboli- 
tion movement into safe channels by means of a colonization society 
for settling free Negroes in Africa. A branch of the society was 
established at Bowdoin and it is said that though the "members were 
few they were very respectable." 

Many, perhaps a majority, of the students were members of none 
of these societies and some at least, if judged by their lives, cared 
little for either religion or morals. The paternal Faculty of Bowdoin 
did their best to remedy this unfortunate situation. They could not 
force the undergraduates to be pious and holy but they could re- 
quire them to attend "divine service," and there was compulsory 
chapel twice a day. The exercises were held, "horrible dictu" at six 
in the morning and five in the afternoon, or, when the days were 
short, at sunrise and sunset. After morning chapel there was a 
recitation and then breakfast. These rules remained in force with- 
out important change until 1872. In that year the Visiting Commit- 
tee reported that the Faculty unanimously favored the discontinu- 
ance of "evening chapel" except on Sunday. They said that stu- 
dents were compelled to walk a considerable distance [probably this 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 291 

referred to men who roomed off the campus] and suffer inconvenience 
for the sake of an exercise which lasted only a few minutes and that 
conditions were different in former years when a recitation preceded 
chapel. 6 The Boards accepted the recommendation of their com- 
mittee and two chapel services a day were known no more at Bowdoin. 
There was sound reason for abolishing before breakfast chapel 
also. In 1897 an alumnus who had graduated sixty years before 
quoted the following lines, written by one of his classmates : 

That chapel bell, that chapel bell 

How dire a tale its echoes tell 

Of luckless nights of sleep bereft 

Of drowsy beds at sunrise left, 
and said, "It is an epitome of the chapel of sixty years ago in the leg- 
gard, hurried, irreverent attendance of those days." 

But the authorities of Bowdoin felt the question of early chapel 
was important not only religiously but scholastically. 

When in 1864 an attempt was made to push the hour forward 
Professor Upham and other members of the Faculty expressed a 
fear that if college exercises should begin at eight instead of six the 
students would find their beds too attractive and would not devote 
sufficient time to the preparation of the morning lessons. The Visit- 
ing Committee reported that the experiment of holding morning 
chapel after breakfast had been tried at other colleges but that the 
Committee did not know that it had been successful, and that;, though 
it brought the matter before the Boards for their consideration, it 
was not prepared to recommend a change. Nor were the Boards 
prepared to make one, and the Bowdoin boys suffered the torments 
of early rising twelve years longer. Then, in 1876, the time for 
morning chapel was fixed at seven-fifty, a rising bell being rung at 
six-thirty. Ultimately still further concessions were made to the 
desire for late sleeping. First, in the fall and winter, and then in the 
spring term also, chapel was held at eight-twenty. The rising bell 
was not rung until seven and in the spring of 1911 was discontinued. 
In 1924 a set of chimes was hung in the chapel tower and one of the 

6 One of President Chamberlain's reforms was the holding of all recitations in 
the forenoon. 



292 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Faculty suggested that they play President Sills's song, "Rise sons 
of Bowdoin," at seven a.m. It was only a jest, but when the writer 
repeated it to a Sophomore the young man was not in the least 
amused, being awakened at such an unearthly hour was too dreadful 
a thing to be treated with levity. 

The college was not satisfied with compelling its children to take 
part in what may be called family worship. They must go to church 
as well. The church selected was the Congregationalist, and there, 
for many decades, most of the Bowdoin undergraduates attended 
regularly. The rights of conscience were protected by allowing a 
student, on his own request, if he were of age, or on that of his parent 
or guardian, if he were a minor, to attend some other church in 
Brunswick or Topsham, but to church he must go. Conscientious 
scruples may, at times, have served as a cloak for other reasons. 
John A. Andrew obtained leave to attend the Unitarian church, but 
his biographer thinks that the request had no theological signifi- 
cance, that the future Governor wished to enjoy the benefit, or 
pleasure, of listening to shorter sermons. The solicitude for their 
immortal weal was not always appreciated by the students, and they 
sometimes manifested their feelings in a manner that was at least 
indecorous. On July 2, 1818, it was announced in chapel that as 
frequent conversation had been ineffectual to deter students from 
reclining their heads on the seats at meeting, fines in future would 
be imposed on offenders. Other misbehavior at religious service was 
punished in like manner. Three students were fined fifty cents apiece 
for sleeping at public worship. Franklin Pierce paid the same sum 
for being in an improper position. This luxury cost another stu- 
dent only twenty-five cents, but he was mulcted a second quarter for 
bringing a cane into chapel. Similar disorder occurred some sixty 
years later. The Faculty records of October 28, 1899, state that 
"The posture of students during chapel exercises was discussed 
but no action was taken." Sometimes the improprieties have been of 
a less quiet nature. In the early days of the college a student threw 
his hat across the chapel. About a hundred years later there was 
more than one instance of such misbehavior, and the Orient stated 
that several Professors had ceased to attend chapel, and had dis- 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 293 

couraged their friends from doing so except on Sundays, when ap- 
parently a different spirit prevailed. President Hyde found it neces- 
sary to prohibit pranks and freakish costumes inside the chapel. 
There have been class rushes and "hold ins," practices often abol- 
ished and again revived. It is said that in 1922 President Sills was 
shoved about while attempting to stop a rush between Sophomores 
and Freshmen, and in 1923 he announced that the rush had become 
dangerous and that if it occurred again the Sophomore-Freshman 
football game would be forbidden. 

There has been considerable opposition to the requirement of at- 
tendance at chapel and church. It is urged that compulsion in such 
a matter is un-American and creates prejudice against religion it- 
self. There is also a physical difficulty. The chapel was built for a 
much smaller college than the Bowdoin of today. As early as the 
middle nineties it was said that if every student would go to chapel 
for a week, attendance could no longer be required for there would 
not be room for all the undergraduates. This heroic experiment was 
not tried, and the Faculty temporarily met the difficulty arising 
from lack of space by putting settees in the aisle. But in 1917 the 
Orient stated that on the second day of the winter term an actual 
count showed that there were sixty men without seats, and suggested 
that chapel attendance be voluntary for Seniors. Three years later 
the paper asked why attendance was called compulsory when it was 
not really so, referring probably to Faculty liberality in allowing 
cuts. 

Part of the student objection to attendance at chapel has been 
due to the conduct of the Professors. There is little doubt that for 
nearly three-quarters of a century after the opening of the college 
the Faculty "lived itself, the truth it taught" and attended chapel 
with great regularity. But about 1870 a change began. The seats 
of the Professors were frequently vacant, much to the irritation of 
the undergraduates. From time to time sharp comments appeared 
in the Orient and the Bugle. In 1882 the Bugle said that it was a 
poor rule which would not work both ways and printed a statement 
of the attendance, for one week, of each Professor. In 1909 the 
Bugle gave figures on Faculty cutting and announced that nearly all 



294 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

the Professors would be put on probation. The Professors, how- 
ever, were not unmindful of their sin. In the Bugle calendar for 
1902-03 there is an entry under November 5, "Effects of the Faculty 
revival meeting show themselves and the Faculty break all records. 
Eleven Profs in chapel." And, in all seriousness, the members of the 
Faculty did recognize the ill effect of their absence. Their records 
state that President Hyde urged the Professors to attend chapel, 
and at a later date the Faculty appointed a committee to devise 
means to secure a reform in this respect. Apparently no further 
action was taken at that time, but arrangements are now in force 
which result in a certain number of Professors attending chapel each 
morning. 

At present there is a strong movement in many colleges against 
making attendance at chapel compulsory. In Bowdoin, however, 
the majority of the student body does not seem to desire any radical 
change in this matter. But the undergraduate committee on the 
ten year plan recommended that more cuts be allowed and that the 
number permitted to each student be increased as he passed from 
class to class. In regard to Sunday chapel the committee expressed 
a wish for a fund to bring good outside speakers to Bowdoin and 
for a good Faculty committee to select them. They added, "Until 
this ideal can be accomplished we strongly recommend that the Presi- 
dent speak as often as he is able at the service as we feel that he im- 
parts more inspiration than any man under the prevailing system." 

The question of compulsory attendance at church has been practi- 
cally if not formally decided in the way most pleasing to the body of 
the students. In 1900 the Faculty on motion of Professor Chapman 
voted that the Boards be informed that in the opinion of the Faculty 
the obligation of the college in regard to student attendance at 
church would be best discharged by a public announcement that stu- 
dents were expected to attend, the keeping of a record of the con- 
duct of each student in this matter and the forwarding the same to 
his parent or guardian, and the Boards passed the vote desired. 

Bowdoin was somewhat slow in recognizing the importance of hav- 
ing a beautiful and dignified building in which to hold religious serv- 
ices, but it appreciated the worth of music. Mr. Cleaveland says in 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 295 

his history, "Music, vocal and instrumental, has always been culti- 
vated more or less in the college. A society for the cultivation of 
sacred music was in active operation during the college life of the 
writer [1813-1817]. In subsequent years the Lockhart Society 
was sustained by an unusual amount of musical talent, furnishing 
music for chapel services, and leaving proof of its enterprise and 
spirit in the organ, for which it raised three hundred dollars and left 
it in trust to the Boards of the college." The organ was much ap- 
preciated and proved of great use, but as the years passed it became 
nearly worn-out. Church organs in Maine improved, and on Janu- 
ary 17, 1887, the Faculty appointed Professors Chapman and 
Hutchins a committee, "to take whatever action they deem best to- 
wards securing an organ for the college chapel." Their efforts were 
successful and Oliver Crocker Stevens of the class of 1876, and his 
wife, presented Bowdoin with a fine pipe organ, selected by the com- 
mittee. Mr. and Mrs. Stevens requested that the college organist 
be compensated and that the students be allowed to practice on the 
organ at reasonable hours. The gift and the implied conditions were 
cheerfully accepted, but this new organ, like its predecessor, in time 
became antiquated, and in 1911 the Faculty voted to ask the Visiting 
Committee to recommend the appropriation of three thousand five 
hundred dollars for a new one. The Committee, however, did not 
feel justified in acceding to the request and Bowdoin waited fifteen 
years for some generous friend to supply the want. Then in the 
fall of 1926 Mr. C. H. K. Curtis of Philadelphia gave Bowdoin as 
large an organ as the chapel would accommodate and one of the first 
quality. 

Perhaps when the new organ is installed more room will be obtained 
by making the old organ loft a Freshman gallery and putting the 
organ over the speakers platform which can be extended a few feet 
into the aisle. 

The Lockhart Society went the way of other clubs, but during the 
middle of the last century the students showed much interest in 
music, and it is probable that they furnished it for the chapel exer- 
cises. In 1877 the Faculty records state that a petition of the 
"choir" to be excused from one recitation a week for a rehearsal, 



296 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

was laid on the table. A week later, however, the members of the 
choir were allowed a credit of two marks a week for attending two 
rehearsals not held in recitation hours and were subjected to the loss 
of a mark for absence from either. In 1881 the Orient stated that 
"The introduction of singing into our chapel exercises 7 is an im- 
provement that is enjoyed and appreciated by all. A choir has been 
selected from the best singers in college, and books have been pur- 
chased with the proceeds of a concert given in the chapel. No matter 
how cold the chapel may be, a man's heart involuntarily warms as he 
listens to the inspiring notes of Coronation ; and for a time, at least 
he forgets to complain because the attendance is compulsory, and the 
furnaces mostly ornamental appendages, not intended for heating." 
In 1884 the Faculty recommended that the organist, like the bell 
ringer, be given his tuition, seventy-five dollars a year, because he 
had spent time and money in acquiring his skill and because the col- 
lege made regular use of his services. But the Visiting Committee 
thought that Bowdoin could not afford the expense. After the gift 
of the new organ from Mr. and Mrs. Stevens, however, the proposed 
honorarium was voted. 

During the middle of the last century there was a widespread 
feeling that both the beliefs and the habits of many of the students 
at Bowdoin were not such as befitted descendants of the Puritans 
and when, in the forties, Bowdoin obtained a large sum by proclaim- 
ing itself orthodox, part of the money was given for the express 
purpose of founding a professorship of Natural and Revealed Reli- 
gion. The largest donor was Mrs. Elizabeth Collins of New Jersey, 
who gave her notes for six thousand dollars and in acknowledgment 
of this generosity the professorship was named after her. The pro- 
fessor was to be not only the instructor but the confidential friend 
and adviser of the students. The conditions of the trust provided 
that "The professor shall at all times be selected from ministers or 
ordained clergymen in regular standing of the Trinitarian Congre- 
gational denomination of Christians. The professor shall not be a 
member of the executive government of the college, nor be required 

7 This expression seems strange. There is clear evidence of the employment of 
a choir a little before this time. 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 297 

or allowed to communicate any knowledge of the character, opinions, 
or conduct of any student of the college obtained by intercourse or 
conversation with the students. 

"It shall be his duty to endeavor to cultivate and maintain a 
familiar intercourse with the students, and to visit and converse with 
them at their chambers ; and by conversation, as well as by more 
formal teaching and preaching, to impress upon their minds the 
truths of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and their suitableness 
to promote the happiness of the present life, and the necessity that 
they should be cordially embraced to secure the happiness of a 
future and endless life. 

"The Trustees and Overseers of the college may regulate the 
manner in which these duties shall be performed, and may pre- 
scribe other duties to be performed, including ordinary instruction 
in the college; but they may not do this so as to prevent the per- 
formance of the duties enjoined or so as to cause the professor to 
teach or conduct in any manner inconsistent with the faithful per- 
formance of these duties." 

There has been unusual difficulty in carrying on the work of the 
Collins professorship because of the insufficiency of the endowment 
and the stringency of the rules laid down by the founders. Finan- 
cially it has been extremely unfortunate. The original subscrip- 
tions amounted to between thirteen and fourteen thousand dollars. 
The usual salary of a professor at Bowdoin was then one thousand 
dollars. The Boards elected Rev. G. L. Prentiss, a clergyman of 
reputation and a brother of S. S. Prentiss, Collins Professor, with 
the provision that his salary should be drawn exclusively from the 
fund and should not exceed one thousand dollars a year. But Mr. 
Prentiss declined and another clergyman also refused the ill-paid 
honor. In 1850 Rev. Mr. Stowe, Bowdoin '24, then a professor at 
Lane Seminary, Cincinnati, accepted the position. He was guaran- 
teed a salary of a thousand dollars a year, the college promised to de- 
fray the expense of his removal to Brunswick, which he agreed should 
not exceed five hundred dollars, and the Boards accordingly voted 
him first four hundred dollars and then one hundred more from the 
income of the fund. 



298 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Professor Stowe found his salary insufficient and was obliged to 
ask a three months' leave of absence to include the winter term. The 
Visiting Committee reported that his request was reasonable saying 
that "His associations are so extensive that he can not easily re- 
duce the expenses of his family [which consisted of a wife and eight 
children] if he desired to do so." The endowment of his chair, in- 
sufficient from the first, was disastrously depleted by heavy losses. 
Mrs Collins became financially embarrassed and unable to pay her 
notes. Other subscribers met with like misfortune. The Boards di- 
rected the Treasurer to ascertain the amount of the fund and ordered 
that only the interest be paid in carrying out its purposes. The 
Treasurer reported that if all subscriptions other than certain ones 
specifically mentioned were paid, if no financial losses of the college 
were to be considered as affecting the fund and if the large sums 
paid for its purpose by the college should not be charged against the 
fund, it would amount to $8,100. In 1877 Mr. Delano of Bath gave 
five hundred dollars to the professorship. 

In 1864 Professor Packard was appointed Collins Professor and 
served until his death twenty years later. The chair then remained 
vacant for several years. In 1888 the Visiting Committee recom- 
mended that it be filled, but stated that the income would not pay 
the salary of a professor. They therefore advised that one of 
the Faculty be made Collins Professor and suggested the name of 
the Professor of Greek, Franklin E. Woodruff, who had taught at 
Andover Seminary and had given special attention to Biblical exe- 
gesis. The Committee recommended that Professor Woodruff re- 
ceive no additional salary but that he be relieved of a part of his work 
in Greek by the employment of an assistant during the spring term. 
In 1890 the Visiting Committee reported that Professor Woodruff 
devoted his attention mainly to Greek but that his salary came chiefly 
from the Collins Fund, and that the Assistant Treasurer believed 
that this practice was of doubtful propriety if not absolutely wrong. 
The Committee therefore advised that Mr. Woodruff be chosen 
Collins Professor, which was done. It was understood, however, that 
he was to perform only part of the work contemplated by the found- 
ers of the professorship. 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 299 

In 1893 President Hyde recommended an important change in 
the use of the Collins Fund. He said, "The precise terms of the 
professorship are such as, if strictly interpreted and literally ob- 
served would defeat the very end which the founders of the pro- 
fessorship had most at heart. Systematic visitation of students 
in their chambers for religious conversation by a person employed 
and paid to perform that particular function is manifestly im- 
practicable." The President stated that other colleges had found 
it advantageous to obtain the services of eminent preachers and 
he advised that the college appropriate five hundred dollars from 
the income of the Collins fund for the employment of ten of the 
most prominent ministers of New England to address the students 
on the first Sunday of each month. Nothing was done and in 1898 
the Faculty discussed at some length the application of the Collins 
Fund, but without result. In 1901 the President again brought the 
matter up in his annual report and urged the adoption of a definite 
policy in regard to the Fund. He stated that two uses of the in- 
come had been suggested, the payment of a Y.M.C.A. Secretary, 
and that of a new professor, and that if the latter course were chosen 
it might be necessary for the college to contribute to the professor's 
salary. President Hyde said that the Y.M.C.A. was the form 
which religious life had assumed in most American colleges and that 
at Bowdoin "the life of the Association for the past few years has 
ben a series of ups and downs, depending upon the personal qualities 
of the students to whom its leadership has been entrusted. A gradu- 
ate secretary of the right sort would give to the work of the As- 
sociation a steadfastness and fruitfulness which it is pretty sure to 
lack for a large part of the time if it is left exclusively to the leader- 
ship of undergraduates." 

Still nothing was done. In the year 1904-1905 one of the pro- 
posed uses of the Collins Fund was rendered unnecessary by the 
generosity of Professor and Mrs. Files. Then and from year to year 
they met the expense of bringing to Brunswick once a month clergy- 
men from other towns and often from outside the state. These 
gentlemen preached in the Congregationalist church in the morning, 
addressed the students at chapel in the afternoon and usually met 
them informally in the evening. 



300 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

In 1908 the long attempted revision of the rules for the expend- 
iture of the Collins Fund was at last attained. Where it is no longer 
practicable to carry out the exact conditions of a trust the courts 
will permit a modification not inconsistent with the purposes of the 
founder. Accordingly the college obtained authority, subject to the 
further order of the court, to take one thousand dollars of the in- 
come of the Fund for the benefit of the Y.M.C.A. Eight hundred 
dollars was to be used for the payment of a permanent secretary 
and two hundred dollars to be expended under his direction for the 
benefit of the Association. Any balance of the income was to be 
added to the principal or to be used for the support of the First 
Parish Church or of the service of the college chapel or for the 
purchase for the college library of books of a religious, theological, 
ethical or philosophical character, or for providing speakers for or 
otherwise aiding in carrying on the work of the college Young Men's 
Christian Association. Later the college obtained permission to use 
one thousand dollars for the secretary's salary. 

A most able man was found for the new and somewhat difficult 
position in Miles T. Langley, who was made instructor in surveying 
and mechanical drawing as well as Y.M.C.A. Secretary. President 
Hyde said of him: "Professor Langley's conduct of the Christian 
Association has been highly successful. While he has not emphasized 
some of the traditional forms of Association work, he has developed 
such a sensible and wholesome spirit of Christian service that the 
Association has risen to a height in student estimation and apprecia- 
tion which it never before had attained." 

The relations between Bowdoin and the principal Congregational- 
ist Church of Brunswick have been very close, but there has some- 
times been a difference of opinion on the question which party was 
receiving the greater advantage. The interchange of services began 
before the opening of the college. The church was then in a feeble 
condition and without a pastor and on April 12, 1802, Rev. Alfred 
Johnson of Freeport wrote to President McKeen, "This moment one 
of the committee for supplying the pulpit in Brunswick (Deacon 



RELIGIOUS LIFE AT BOWDOIN 301 

Kincaid) has come to desire me to find for them a candidate. I 
have proposed you as the fittest person to inquire of, heretofore, 
and have agreed with the Deacon to write you ; and shall take no 
other steps until I hear from you. The Deacon says, that half of 
the town has gone over to the Baptists ; that Mr. Williams [Elder 
Williams, the Baptist preacher in Brunswick] is popular, active and 
on the increas [increase] and that without a minister equally able 
and active, in all parts of the town, the parish will be lost." Mr. 
McKeen replied, "I have made some inquiry after a candidate for 
Brunswick, but have not yet succeeded." No regular minister was 
installed until 1811, but there appear to have been supplies, and, at 
times, Presidents McKeen and Appleton preached. 

A few years after the opening of the college it was proposed to 
build a new church and the Boards agreed to take eight shares in the 
building on condition that it be erected within one hundred rods of 
Massachusetts Hall, that such use of it should be secured to the 
college as the President and Trustees might deem necessary, and that 
if the proprietors should ever settle or employ any other than a 
Congregationalist minister the money should be refunded. An acre 
for a site was also granted under the same conditions, a committee 
of the Boards being appointed to locate the acre "on such parts of 
the college lands as shall be most convenient and least prejudicial to 
any future management of the college." Later some questions arose 
as to the rights of the college and in 1821 the parish conveyed one- 
ninth of the church lot and a right for the Professors and students 
to use the north gallery for the purposes for which it was then used 
by them. In 1824 the college contributed fifty dollars for the 
purchase of a bell on condition that it might use the bell and the 
meeting house for public literary exercises. The parish agreed, pro- 
vided that ten days notice were given, except for the exercises of 
Commencement Week, and provided that the parish might with- 
draw the permission on repaying the fifty dollars. In 1830 the 
Boards voted to contribute $33.51 "to painting and repairing 
the meeting house owned by the first parish and Bowdoin Col- 
lege." In 1845 the college contributed two hundred dollars to the 
cost of repairing the church on condition that the north gallery 



302 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

should be fitted with pews like the gallery opposite, except that there 
should be no doors (a wise provision, one can imagine how the stu- 
dents would have accidentally slammed them) and that the college 
might, when necessary hold public speakings in the church if this 
were done in the day time. 

The changes made were much more extensive than those first 
planned and the parish proposed a modification of the contract. 
The Visiting Committee reported that "considering the meeting 
house is so much more beautiful and so much more convenient for 
college purposes than was contemplated when the Boards voted 
$200.00 towards the repairs of the old building they therefore cor- 
dially recommend that the terms proposed by the parish be compiled 
with," and the Boards agreed. The gallery reserved for the under- 
graduates was the south not the north gallery, but twenty years 
later, at the request of the minister, a part of the students were trans- 
ferred to the north gallery, probably in the hope that if divided they 
would behave better. 

The congregation has been shocked sometimes by the inattention 
and the irreverent postures of the students which their position in the 
gallery has made manifest to all. At one time a plan of scattering the 
students through the congregation was discussed, but it was felt that 
the experiment would not be successful unless it were made with the 
cordial acceptance of both parties, and it was never tried. It was 
probably with reference to the decision against this change that the 
Orient said "Students who keep late hours Saturday nights will be 
rejoiced to hear that we are to retain our sleeping apartments in the 
galleries of the church." 

There have been some differences between the parish and the college 
as to their respective rights of taxation and of the use of the church. 
In 1879 the Visiting Committee conferred with a committee of the 
parish and reported that they thought themselves warranted in say- 
ing that they believed that the parish would be satisfied with the pay- 
ment of one hundred and seventy dollars in discharge of all claims, 
legal, equitable or moral, and the Boards made such an appropria- 
tion. The college continued to pay for the use of the galleries by the 
students and for the President's pew. At times there has been a 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 303 

lack of harmony between the minister and the students. The Rever- 
end Mr. Mead, minister from 1822 to 1829, appears to have given 
special offense. The Trustees passed a vote disclaiming all respon- 
sibility for his call to the pastorate and also resolved not to send the 
vote to the Overseers. In 1823 some students hung Mr. Mead in 
effigy. Happily we may be sure that the two undergraduates of 
that day in whom Bowdoin takes special interest were free from the 
guilt of participation. Longfellow was too quiet and law-abiding 
and Hawthorne wrote to his sister, "Mother need not be frightened 
as I was not engaged in it." Six months later he wrote to his aunt 
"the students have been very steady and regular this term, but re- 
ligion is less regarded than could be desired. This is owing in part 
to the unpopularity of Mr. Mead, whom the students dislike so much 
that they will attend to none of his exhortations." Perhaps Mr. 
Mead's chief failing was inability to sympathize with unregenerate 
youth. A member of the class of 1826, who was converted in his 
Senior year, afterward spoke with much gratitude of the help which 
he received from Mr. Mead at that time. 

In the early eighties the minister preached against the dances 
called Germans which the students were giving. Some years later 
there was a sharp discussion in the Orient of the fitness of the 
minister then serving to guide young men and of the right of the 
students to express their opinion on the subject. In the present 
century ministers of the church have made special efforts to meet 
the needs of the students. 



CHAPTER IX 

FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 



COLLEGE is a natural place for the formation of societies and 
fraternities. The students have not wholly outgrown what has 
been called the "gang spirit," they are separated from the family in 
which their life has been spent, and they are associating almost ex- 
clusively with young men of their own age and of a considerable simi- 
larity of tastes and interests. Under these circumstances it is natural 
that societies should be formed which are not mere clubs but to a 
greater or less degree real brotherhoods. In the first half of the nine- 
teenth century organizations of this nature, with the special aim of 
training their members for the public discussion of serious questions, 
flourished in most American colleges. There were often two principal 
societies in each college and their rivalry helped to keep them alive 
and vigorous. Bowdoin was no exception to the rule. Before her 
first class graduated a literary society was established. On Novem- 
ber 22, 1805, eight students met, formed the Philomathian 1 So- 
ciety, and adopted a constitution. The preamble, obviously influ- 
enced by that of the constitution of the United States, ran "We 
members of Bowdoin College, in order to form a more perfect union 
to promote literature and friendship and realize the benefits re- 
sulting from social intercourse do establish this constitution of our 
society." Members must be admitted by a unanimous vote but could 
be expelled by one of two-thirds. There was a tax on each member 
of one dollar a term, and a fine of twelve cents for absence from a 
meeting. A little later an initiation fee of fifty cents was established 
"in consequence of the expense attendant on the previous collections 
of books and papers." There were the usual officers of a club, and a 

1 "Lover of learning." 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 305 

committee of three to purchase books, but the constitution wisely 
provided that no money should be appropriated that was not "actu- 
ally in the treasurer's books." As befitted a literary society it be- 
came the custom to elect the two members who were supposed to be 
the best scholars president and secretary. 

In 1814 the society was divided into a "General Society" which 
consisted of all members, both graduate and undergraduate, and 
which had final authority, and an undergraduate society which made 
its own regulations subject to the approval of the General Society. 

A few months after the foundation of the Philomathian a proposal 
was made to change the name to Peucinian. The matter was re- 
ferred to a committee which reported that objection had been made 
to the term Peucinian because of its merely local significance, but 
that all names of places were due to some peculiar circumstance. 
"Beside this all academies of note have had some particular orna- 
ment of this kind for their exhibition poetry. Cambridge in Eng- 
land has its willows, Oxford its osiers and we have our pines. What 
object around us can give us a better name 2 and had we not better 
take a name from some object around us. Every literary society 
can be a Philomathian society and the name has been often applied 
but every society cannot be a Peucinian Society nor has there been 
one." These arguments prevailed, the society became the Peucinian 
and took for its motto Pinos loquentes semper habemus. 

There was a formal initiation. The Secretary of the society con- 
ducted the neophytes to the room where the Peucinians were as- 
sembled, informed the President that, in accordance with a vote of 
the society, he had invited A, B, and C to become members, and read 
their acceptances, which on the request of the President they ac- 
knowledged. The President made an address and the Secretary read 
the constitution. Then the Secretary, with his right hand, extended 
a pine bough which had several branches and said, "This we pre- 
sent you as a symbol of the society and emblematic of our connec- 
tion. As we now unite our hands in the branches of this bough, may 

2 Certainly not the Androscoggin River. A few years later an embarrassed 
Peucinian bard told his audience that he would leave it to Indian poets to weave 
the unmanageable word into their song. 



306 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

our hearts be united in affections and our endeavors in literary pur- 
suits. As gentlemen, you solemnly affirm in presence of this society, 
that you will, to the utmost of your endeavors promote its objects, 
that you will be governed by, and never divulge its constitution and 
that you will ever strive to advance its respectability. This you 
promise upon your honor." The President, Secretary and the other 
old members then shook hands with the new. 

Meetings were held fortnightly in the fall and winter, and weekly 
in the summer, terms. Among the subjects discussed in the first year 
of the society were: "Whether the D[istrict] of Maine becoming a 
separate State would be to the advantage of the inhabitants? 
Whether the fear of shame or the love of honor be the greater in- 
ducement to virtue? Whether the practice of Duelling be justifiable 
or not? Whether eloquence be advantageous to a commonwealth? 
Whether the crimes resulting from barbarism or the vices allied to 
refinement be most pernicious to Society." 

For the first twenty years of the society the meetings were held in 
rotation in the rooms of the members, then they were allowed to use 
first one and then two of the recitation rooms in Maine Hall. These 
rooms were middle ones, one became the library room of the society, 
the other its assembly hall. There was at that time communication 
between the two ends and on special occasions the door could be 
opened and a good sized apartment thus obtained. 

It will be remembered that November 22, 1805, was the date of the 
organization of the society. On October 8, 1806, it voted ". . . to 
celebrate the approaching anniversary by a festive agglomeration of 
social atoms over materials of bliss." It also voted that the dinner 
should be preceded by a speech by the President and an oration by 
one of the members. 

The anniversary celebration became permanent and was one of the 
chief events of the college year. The public was admitted to the 
speaking. Professor Packard describes in his Reminiscences how 
"Members decked with the society medal and blue ribbon, president 
and officers with broad blue scarfs, and the elite of the town tramped 
from Maine Street, through the dark muddy lane, to a hall in the 
house of Mr. John Dunning and listened to the oration by the presi- 



FKATEEKTITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 307 

dent of the society, and a poem, if the Muse had inspired anyone 
with the gift of song. After exercises, members had a supper served 
in the best style of the favorite boarding house of the village in the 
parlor below." Professor Packard gives the officers scarfs but a 
vote of 1809 assigns them ribbons of varying colors and widths, 
carefully discriminated. 

Even more important than the anniversary was the day preceding 
Commencement. The general society held its annual meeting, and 
then marched to the chapel or to the Congregationalist church 
where an oration and a poem were delivered by graduate or honorary 
members of the society. The first Commencement oration was given 
in 1808 by Charles S. Daveis of the class of 1807, who took for the 
title of his speech a Greek phrase which means Let us return to 
Athens. Mr. Daveis began by saying, "In the evening the Grecian 
exiles were used to sing, Let us return to Athens. Let us return to 
Athens this evening, for we are exiled from Greece by two great seas, 
and two thousand years." Mr. Daveis then spoke with much enthu- 
siasm and rhetorical ability of the value and the immortality of 
Greek literature. 

A copy of the oration was sent to the Boston Anthology, a lit- 
erary magazine then held in high repute throughout New England. 
Not only was the address accepted for publication but one of the 
editors gave it a most flattering notice, saying, "The following com- 
munication upon Greek literature we have received from the district 
of Maine, a part of the country, which in our local pride we have 
supposed to be near Boeotia [the Boeotians were thought by the 
Athenians to be specially stupid] but after perusing the charming 
rhapsody, we were forced to suspect, that in obedience to the call of 
the motto . . . the young author of this piece would have less 
ground to traverse than some of us, who fancy that we live in sight of 
Athens." 

In after years the Peucinians had other writers and speakers who 
surpassed Mr. Daveis, able as he was, for they could show upon 
their rolls the names of Henry W. Longfellow, George Evans, and 
Seargent S. Prentiss, but the society did not allow a few of the more 
talented members to do all the work and receive all the benefits of 



308 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

training. An account of the Peucinian Society in the Orient of Feb- 
ruary 4, 1880, which, perhaps, was written by Professor Packard, 
states that "The more earnest members were solicitous that all 
should take part, the modest were encouraged, it was discreditable to 
be dumb and shirks were received with no indulgence." Opportunity 
was given for practice in different kinds of speaking and writing, 
for the constitution of the society provided that there should be at 
each regular meeting one original and two selected declamations, two 
dissertations, a debate, and the reading of a paper. 

The society formed a large and well-selected library in which it 
took great pride. The contributor to the Orient quoted above men- 
tions the enthusiasm aroused by the news that an undergraduate 
member, James Winthrop Bowdoin of the class of 1814, had given a 
seventeen-volume edition of Swift to the library. Dr. Cyrus Hamlin 
says that "the loyalty of each student was measured by his gifts to 
the library." In 1838 twelve Peucinians gave ten dollars apiece for 
the purchase of books. There were two conditions, that there should 
be at least ten subscribers and that each donor might select the 
books to be bought with his money. 

In 1840 a Freshman, J. M. Mitchell, noted in his diary that a 
classmate had returned from Boston where he had been to purchase 
books for the Freshmen Peucinians to give to the society library and 
that "He procured some most splendid works among which was 
Shakespeare's Gallery, a book of paintings and poetry illustrating 
them, cost fifteen dollars." 

At times, indeed, the ardor of the Peucinians may have outrun 
their discretion. In 1830 the gifts of individuals reached the un- 
usual number of one hundred and eighty volumes, and the committee 
of the general society reported that the undergraduate committee 
"very judiciously remark that those who are disposed to do more 
than their means allow should reflect that the worth of the Society 
depends upon the character of the members no less than on the size 
of the library." This warning would appear to have been heeded 
for the report of 1832 stated that there had been no excessive gen- 
erosity that year. The loyalty of the members, however, did not 
prevent considerable "hooking," or, as the scholarly youth of a later 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 309 

time would say, "swiping" of books, a practice which was facilitated 
by some unwise methods of administration. 

At first the Peucinian Society reigned alone, but a real or sup- 
posed misuse of its powers raised up a dangerous rival, the Athe- 
naean. This society was founded in 1808, it is said by a disgruntled 
Peucinian, who did not graduate. It was disbanded in 1811, revived 
in 1813, disbanded again in 1816, and revived the next year. Unlike 
the Peucinian in its first days the Athenaean admitted Freshmen. One 
year it invited the whole class and all but one accepted. Such hospi- 
tality gave the Athenaeans so great an advantage that Peucinia, too, 
was obliged to open her arms to the infants. The Athenaeans were 
also the first to found a library. Again the Peucinians promptly imi- 
tated their rivals. In 1828 the Athenaeans obtained a charter of in- 
corporation from the legislature. In 1833 the Peucinians did the 
same. Each society was allowed to own, in addition to its books, 
property of the value of five thousand dollars, but this could only be 
employed for encouraging science and literature and diffusing use- 
ful knowledge. The Athenaeans had a General Society but it was 
dependent for its powers on the will of the undergraduate society 
except that it had control of the library. The society had once dis- 
tributed the books among the members and disbanded, but the spe- 
cial authority of the General Society would serve to prevent such 
action in the future. 

Despite certain differences of structure the objects and methods 
of the two societies were very similar. The Peucinian was regarded 
as the more aristocratic of the two and for that reason John A. 
Andrew, who always had a Christian compassion for the under dog, 
joined the Athenaean. In the days of their strength the societies 
were about equally successful in attracting men of future eminence. 
The Peucinians enrolled George Evans, Nathan Lord, Henry W. 
Longfellow and Seargent S. Prentiss ; the Athenaeans secured John 
P. Hale, William Pitt Fessenden, Franklin Pierce, and Nathaniel 
Hawthorne. The rivalry between Athena and Peucinia was intense. 
Old alumni have contrasted the peaceful days of the literary societies 
with the quarrelsome, partisan times of the Greek letter fraternities, 



310 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

but, in truth, society feeling was so bitter in the eighteen-twenties 
and eighteen-thirties as seriously to interfere with college discipline. 
When the Visiting Committee recommended the appointment of 
Daniel R. Goodwin as Professor of Modern Languages it laid es- 
pecial stress on the circumstance that he was an Athenaean. It said 
that all the professors who belonged to a Bowdoin society were 
Peucinians and that consequently when an Athenaean was punished 
by the Faculty his brothers, unless the case was very clear, attrib- 
uted the action to society prejudice. 

The libraries of the societies were of great benefit to the college, 
but there was an unfortunate duplication in administration and in 
purchasing. For this reason and because of the ill-feeling existing 
between the two societies the college came to look upon them with 
disfavor. After the Athenaean was incorporated the Trustees voted 
to petition the legislature to repeal the act, but the Overseers disa- 
greed. A little later an attempt was made to induce the societies to 
commit suicide by marrying, or at least to merge their libraries. In 
1831 the Boards appointed a committee, with Chief Justice Mellen 
at its head, to consider "whether any regulations are necessary to be 
adopted, relative to the two rival Societies now existing in the Col- 
lege and if so, to recommend such measures as in their judgement, 
may be most conducive to the harmony of the Students and the best 
interests of the College." A joint meeting of the undergraduate 
members of the societies was held and Judge Mellen addressed it and 
urged a union of the societies. The standing committee of the Peu- 
cinian General Society had pronounced in favor of such a course, 
saying "That this plan if adopted will obviate many of the diffi- 
culties now existing appear to your committee too evident to admit 
of doubt. Tender recollections we all love to cherish but there are 
times when it becomes us to yield to higher and holier motives, to 
sacrifice them to the general good." But both Peucinians and Athe- 
naeans rejected Judge Mellen's proposal with indignation. 

The literary societies had resisted the exhortations and blandish- 
ments of authority, 3 but they were soon to encounter a more dan- 

3 Notwithstanding their disapproval, the Boards made no attempt to coerce 
the societies but continued and even extended their right of using rooms in the 
dormitories for their libraries and meetings. 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 311 

gerous enemy, the intercollegiate Greek letter fraternities. In the 
short period between 1841 and 1844, inclusive, four of these brother- 
hoods were founded at Bowdoin, Alpha Delta Phi in 1841, Psi Up- 
silon in 1843, Chi Psi and Delta Kappa Epsilon in 1844. 

The danger to the older societies was quickly recognized. Athe- 
naeans who joined Alpha Delta Phi were accused of disloyalty. 
One of them, H. H. Boody, made a sharp reply declaring that 
they were loving sons of Athena, but that if such accusations 
were continued they might be alienated. Time proved that the alarm 
caused by the founding of the new societies was justified. They 
came to hold the first place in the affections of their members, and 
the offices in the old organizations were regarded as trophies to be 
fought for by the Greek-letter men. The old Athenaeans and Peu- 
cinians had been actuated by a similar spirit. In 1840 a Freshman 
literary society had been almost disrupted by a disputed election 
which was really an Athenaean-Peucinian fight. Interest in Athena 
and Peucinia died out in the student body but they kept a merely 
formal existence because of their libraries, and of the affection of 
the older alumni, who were unwilling to admit that the societies which 
they so loved and from which they had received so much benefit had 
had their day. 

From time to time earnest efforts were made to revive them. 
The old rivalry almost disappeared and, as, with a change in the 
style of public speaking the supply of orators and poets had de- 
creased, the societies celebrated Commencement together and fur- 
nished or tried to furnish an orator and a poet alternately. In 1858 
an attempt was made to have a series of joint public debates but 
only one was held. 

In 1864 the Bugle stated that for some years there had been few 
meetings of the societies, and that these had been of a business na- 
ture. The societies presented petitions to the Boards asking that 
college recitations be omitted Saturday morning in order that they 
might devote Friday evenings to their exercises. They claimed that 
the college neglected "this department" and promised, if the desired 
privilege were granted, that they would do their utmost to restore 
the societies to their former state. But the Visiting Committee said 



312 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

that it could see no necessity for giving up a recitation, that in 
former years the societies had flourished without this aid, and the 
Boards concurred with their committee. 

In the seventies a last attempt was made to render the literary so- 
cieties once more worthy of their name. The Bowdoin Association of 
the East, a club of alumni in Washington County, offered a gold 
medal worth fifty dollars, to be called the St. Croix medal, or its 
value in money, to the best debater in an annual debate between the 
Athenaean and Peucinian societies. The debates were held for three 
successive years and the Orient justly said that if the object of es- 
tablishing the prize was to give the people of Brunswick an oppor- 
tunity to hear a debate it had been attained, but that it had not if 
the purpose was to revive interest in the Athenaean and the Peucin- 
ian. The fourth year there was no debate because no money came, the 
members of the Association saw that the only result of their gold 
pill treatment had been to cause the societies to meet twice a year in- 
stead of once, the second meeting being held to choose the debaters. 
The next year the Orient stated that the Athenaeans had met to in- 
itiate new members but that no one had applied, that there had been 
a rumor in circulation that one Freshman had expressed a willing- 
ness to join but that no one believed it. The Orient of 1873 had ad- 
vised the societies officially to declare themselves dead and the old 
members at last recognized the necessity of sleep though not of for- 
mal death. There was some difficulty in getting meetings legally 
qualified to dispose of the libraries, but by the Commencement of 
1880 the two libraries had been moved to a wing of the chapel, where 
they were shelved as separate collections, that old Athenaeans and 
Peucinians might see the books which they and their friends had 
helped to buy. But this separate arrangement made consultation 
less easy and ultimately the society libraries were merged with that 
of the college. 

The Athenaean society twice revived for a moment. As it had 
made only a deposit of its library there was some danger that after 
most of the members had died a few nominal members of the latest 
days might claim the library books for their personal profit, ac- 
cordingly a meeting of the society was held and the deposit changed 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 313 

to a gift. In 1886 the Athenaean society became entitled to a be- 
quest of a thousand dollars under the will of a member of the class 
of 1839, Samuel Hazen Ayer. Mr. Ayer died in 1853 but his be- 
quest did not become available until the death of his wife in 1886. 
By that date the society had practically ceased to be but the sur- 
viving members gave the money to the library to establish a book 
fund and every volume bought with the income contains a book- 
plate with a picture of a Greek temple, the motto of the Athenaeans, 
Scientia suos cultores coronat, and a statement that the society es- 
tablished the fund from whose income the book was bought in mem- 
ory of Samuel Hazen Ayer. 

The Peucinian and Athenaean each had as a kind of annex a 
scientific society. The Peucinian was called the Caluvian and the 
Athenaean the Phi Alpha. They died long before their parents, but 
not until they had collected a miscellaneous assortment of biological 
and other specimens and a few pictures which ultimately became the 
property of the college. 

There were several reasons for the triumph of the Greek letter 
fraternities. Athena and Peucinia, together, had come to include 
all or nearly all of the undergraduate body and there was a special 
attraction in belonging to a more select association. There was also a 
certain distinction in being a member of an intercollegiate society. 
Secrecy, too, cast a glamour. The literary societies were semi- 
public. The Greek letter fraternities were so secret that for a time 
the very place of meeting was known only to the initiated, who went 
thither singly and by different routes. Another cause of the success 
of the Grecians may have been the pleasure men often feel in oppos- 
ing authority, for both the Faculty and the Boards highly disap- 
proved of the newcomers. 

In 1846 the Visiting Committee discussed the subject of the re- 
cently established fraternities at great length. After some general 
remarks the Committee said: "They [we] refer to what are denom- 
inated particularly as Secret Societies. These are confined to a few 
select members, having their meetings late at night, shrouded in 
mystery, shunning observation and concealing their operation equal- 
ly from the eyes of the Faculty and their fellow students. It is not 



314 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

imagined that there is any mischief designed by the Secret Societies, 
or that they are intended as coverts for irregularity and dissipation. 
On the contrary they are understood to have been commenced among 
some of the most correct and distinguished individuals in former 
classes now graduated; and no personal imputation is known to at- 
tach to the character or conduct of any present members. It is not 
conceived that there is anything absolutely wrong in their principles 
or improper in their intentions or purposes. They are rather sup- 
posed to spring out of much the same causes as other existing so- 
cieties only seeking some peculiar modification of the social prin- 
ciple, by becoming more select, mysterious and exclusive. Setting 
up perhaps some ideal standard of merit and excellence which they 
would cultivate apart for themselves." 

The Committee stated that bitter animosities resulted. "All this 
takes place, too, among brethren of the same literary fraternity 
equally cherished children of the same common Alma Mater and that 
to a degree to disturb the order and for a short period to almost de- 
stroy the peace of College." 

The Committee said that the Boards might be unwilling to put 
such a mark on the societies as to exercise the right of abolishing 
them on the ground that they were unfavorable to science and moral- 
ity, but that it understood that some members themselves were ready 
to disband, and that others would acquiesce in a dissolution by the 
Boards. The Committee thought that no immediate action was 
necessary, but as the Boards would not meet again for a year and 
other societies might spring up against which it would be advisable 
to act, it recommended that the Faculty be empowered to abolish 
"All Societies which from their character of secrecy or otherwise 
shall be injurious to the order, harmony and welfare of the Institu- 
tion." The Committee admitted that it had heard only one side, but 
said that the Boards were accustomed to act on information fur- 
nished by those in charge of the college, and that the Faculty were 
unanimous in condemning the fraternities. The Committee also ac- 
knowledged that there was no evidence of irregularities, but added 
that such evidence would be difficult to obtain. They said that the 
friends of the college complained of the expense caused by the so- 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 315 

cieties, that the existing literary societies were auxiliary to college 
objects and that the time which they drew away from studies was as 
much as should be allowed for social purposes. The Committee 
claimed that the evils of the fraternities were not accidental but in- 
herent "from the perniciousness of the secret principle and the in- 
evitable tendency to multiply, and overrun the College with their 
dark and deadly influence." Was this a relic of Anti-Masonry? 

The members of the Committee stated that were they more con- 
vinced than was the case, that there was a difference between the 
fraternities, yet the welfare of the College demanded the equal sac- 
rifice of all. The Committee suggested that these reasons might be 
reported to the upper classes in the spirit of kindness in which they 
were conceived, and that if the students desired there might be a 
hearing before the committee the following year. 

The next year the Committee recommended that strict measures 
be taken against the fraternities receiving new members, but the 
Boards side-stepped the responsibility and merely gave such power 
to the Faculty, and the Faculty did not venture to take so radical a 
course. In the late fifties the Faculty and the Visiting Committee 
reported that the evils of the fraternity system had greatly dimin- 
ished, yet they still condemned it and expressed an earnest desire for 
its abolition. But this remained simply a pious, or impious, hope. 
The college authorities dared not begin a war to the knife. The 
intercollegiate associations gave strength to each chapter in the 
band. The eminent men who acted as orators and poets at their 
public anniversary exercises gave them prestige. 

But the most important reason for the failure to abolish the fra- 
ternities was the impossibility of obtaining a general union of col- 
leges against them. A few small colleges were afraid to act alone 
because they might drive away more students than they could afford 
to lose. It should be said, however, that the opposition to the fra- 
ternities was not confined to the Boards and the Faculty. A branch 
of the Delta Upsilon or Anti-Secret Confederation was formed at 
Bowdoin in 1857. It proved short-lived and when revived in 1892 it 
no longer proclaimed itself an anti-secret society but only a non- 
secret one. Among the resolute fighters against the societies was 



316 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Thomas B. Reed, '60. He refused throughout his course to join one, 
but at graduation, feeling perhaps that the fight was lost, he yielded 
to the earnest request of his roommate, Samuel Fessenden, to whom 
he was devotedly attached, and was initiated into Chi Psi. 

The movement in the late fifties was the last attempt to drive the 
fraternities from Bowdoin. Their number has gradually grown, 
and though some have temporarily disappeared, all of them have 
been revived. There are now eleven Greek letter fraternities at Bow- 
doin, ten national and one local. They are, in the order of their 
original establishment, Alpha Delta Phi, Psi Upsilon, Chi Psi, Delta 
Kappa Epsilon, Delta Upsilon, Theta Delta Chi, Zeta Psi, Kappa 
Sigma, Beta Theta Pi, Sigma Nu, and Phi Delta Psi. Their mem- 
bers form a very large majority of the student body, but in 1925 
there were about seventy-five undergraduates who were non-society 
men. There is a feeling among the fraternity members, themselves, 
that the exclusion of so many men from the pleasures and benefits of 
fraternity life is unfortunate and various remedies have been pro- 
posed. Some would diminish the size of the fraternities. Undoubt- 
edly those outside would then be less isolated, but more would feel 
the sting of rejection, and the reduction of the number of men in the 
societies would strengthen the temptation to narrowness and snob- 
bishness and might transform the fraternities into clubs of the so- 
cially and financially select. 

It has also been proposed to increase the number of fraternities 
so that practically every student would be a fraternity man. But 
this would make fraternity struggles more fierce; with only enough 
men to go round, the fraternities, which are under heavy expense, 
would be obliged to take in almost anybody, esprit du corps would 
be diminished and standards lowered. 

Although there has been no serious attack on the fraternities as 
such for nearly seventy years there have been various attempts to 
change the details of the system. There has been much discussion 
of the proper time for pledging and admission. In the first few years 
of the Greek letter societies Freshmen were not publicly recognized 
as members. In the fall term of Sophomore year the new members 
appeared in chapel wearing their pins and this "swinging out" as it 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 317 

was called was always awaited with much interest. The Alpha Delta 
Phis took in men from all classes, but they did not wear their pins 
until Junior year. It is said that a son of a professor who disap- 
proved of societies refrained from swinging out during his whole 
course. A local society, however, offered Freshmen full privileges 
and the other societies felt obliged to do the same. 

Today a majority of the men, or boys, are pledged while in the fitting 
schools, no fraternity daring to leave that field to its rivals. The 
sub-freshmen are invited to Bowdoin for some athletic or social event 
and if chapter and guest are pleased with each other a pledge is of- 
fered and accepted. This mode is better than that of a wild scramble 
at the beginning of the college year, but it is hasty work, neverthe- 
less, and mistakes are sometimes made. It has been proposed that, 
to remedy this evil, no one be pledged before a fixed date. This would 
have the disadvantage that some Freshmen would lose the special 
friendship and guidance which they need at the beginning of their 
course, while a few who were much sought after because of athletic 
or other ability would enjoy a long period of courtship although 
what they needed was a course of instruction in modesty. 

Moreover, there is danger that each fraternity would find in the 
conduct of some rival an excuse for evading its promise and it might 
be as hard to prevent informal pledging as it is to stop the offering 
of inducements to high school athletes or to define the indirect com- 
pensation which destroys amateur status. Doubtless, however, much 
could be done by the adoption of stringent rules. It has been sug- 
gested that during the probation period Freshmen be forbidden to 
eat more than a few times at any fraternity house and that invitations 
to pledge be offered by letter on a fixed date, the same for all frater- 
nities. Such a rule, however, would be embarrassing for the fraterni- 
ties since they could not regulate their angling by the number and 
kind of the fish already caught. They might find themselves in the 
situation of a bidder by letter at a book-auction who in order to 
make allowance for the successes of his competitors has bidden for 
twice as many books as he wishes to buy and finds that he has mis- 
calculated and that his shelves are crowded with duplicates in sub- 
stance though not in form. 



318 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Somewhat related to the question of pledging is that of deferred 
initiations. For many years the initiations were held after a short 
but intense rushing season. Now they are postponed at least until 
the most important of the Maine championship football games which 
are held in Brunswick that year. The great occasion brings many 
alumni back and a considerable number of them stay over to initia- 
tion. Some fraternities, however, defer the initiations until after the 
mid-year examinations. If a decided mistake has been made on the 
part of the fraternity or the pledgee there is a chance of its being 
discovered in time. Moreover, if a student is obliged to leave college 
within a few months of his arrival because of unsatisfactory scholar- 
ship or conduct, some fraternity is not saddled for life with a brother 
whose membership is likely to be one of form rather than of spirit. 
For the student the rule is sometimes a hard one. There are boys 
who look forward with great anxiety to initiation, the experiences 
of the days before, which are popularly known as "hell week," are 
somewhat trying and if the newcomers find the transition from the 
work of the fitting school to that of the college bewildering, the fear 
of the goat as well as the Faculty may turn what would have been 
success into failure. The problem is a difficult one ; different frater- 
nities have given different answers and the same fraternity has 
changed from year to year, but all agree that it is highly desirable 
that, if possible, a unanimous decision be reached. 

One of the chief evils of the fraternity system is a tendency to 
carry loyalty too far and allow fraternal feeling to interfere with 
the selection of the best men for class offices and for the athletic 
teams. This would not be serious did not different fraternities make 
"combines" by which group support is obtained for a slate. The 
evil is very old. We have recollections and extracts from a diary 
concerning the election in February, 1862, of the officers for the 
Freshman class-supper to be held the following July. The writer, 
Mr. X, had passed his entrance examinations for Bowdoin but went 
to Hamilton. He was, however, in Maine for a vacation at the time 
of the election and was induced to come to Brunswick and help de- 
cide the great battle. Mr. X was not the only warrior thus obtained. 
He states in his diary : "The different factions brought men here to 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 319 

vote whose claims to belong to the class were very slight, and who 
never again took part in any college exercises. Money was expended 
very freely in carrying on these operations." Mr. X, himself, re- 
ceived five dollars to defray his expenses, receipting for it to the 
collector, that resolute opponent of fraternities, Thomas B. Reed. 
The fight was earnest but good-natured. The diary says : "A Junior 
rode 90 miles last night and got two men. All mere society rivalry. 
No principle is involved . . . No hard feeling was manifested only in- 
tense excitement." 

In later years the excitement was maintained without the good 
feeling. The Orient of 1877, after praising the Seniors for the man- 
ner in which they had conducted their class election, said : "We hope 
never to see another of these wretched squabbles which make a 
pandemonium of our college for a week or two, and never satisfy any- 
body in the end. Every man, in our judgment, ought to be a poli- 
tician, in the true sense of the term, both in college and out, but there 
is a vast difference between following B. F. Butler as a standard 
and the lamented Sumner." 

Recently various plans have been suggested for putting down 
combines. It has been proposed that elections be held under the 
supervision of the Student Council, that each voter sign his ballot, 
and that, if the ballots show that a combine has been formed, a new 
election be held and the combiners deprived of the right of suffrage. 

An attempt has been made to bring about a better state of feeling 
and a better acquaintance among men of different fraternities by 
forming social clubs or fraternities cutting across the old frater- 
nity lines. Their rise in some respects resembled that of the Greek 
letter societies and it is possible that ultimately the latter might 
have suffered the fate of the Athenaean and Peucinian but for the 
interposition of the authorities. 

President Hyde, in his report of 1902, said: "An Inter-Fraternity 
Fraternity was established here a few years ago, with the avowed 
purpose of diminishing rivalry between the fraternities. As might 
have been expected, this new organization was not entirely success- 
ful in accomplishing its avowed object, but called into being a rival 
Interfraternity-Fraternity. The function of these organizations is 



320 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

chiefly social, and is not sufficiently distinct from the purpose of the 
regular fraternities to warrant their separate existence. The fact 
that a few men from each of the regular fraternities are in these 
inter-fraternity organizations has an unfortunate influence on the 
internal harmony of the regular fraternities ; it introduces the very 
difficulties which the first one was established to remove. It is not 
wise for the authorities of the college to interfere arbitrarily with 
social arrangements of the students ; but it is worth while for the 
alumni of the regular fraternities who are now being called upon to 
do so much for the material equipment of these fraternities to very 
carefully inquire into the effects of these outside organizations upon 
them ; and if they are found to be injurious, to bring influence to bear 
upon their undergraduate members to discontinue them. These out- 
side organizations are a source of increased expense to their mem- 
bers. Taken in addition to the regular fraternity life, they probably 
introduce into the life of the student more social distraction and di- 
version than is beneficial. It has been proposed to merge these 
organizations in a common college club ; but the maintenance of a 
college club for so small a student population as we have at present, 
would be an expensive luxury and is not to be encouraged." 

The fraternities thus condemned soon ceased to exist, but new 
clubs were quickly established. 

In 1904 the Ibis was founded, in 1906 the Friars (Junior), in 
1911 the U. Q. (Freshman) and in 1913 the Abraxas (first Sopho- 
more and later Junior). Although one of the objects of the Ibis is 
to bring men of different societies together it is more than a social 
club. It consists of a few of the ablest and most scholarly men in 
college. Serious subjects are discussed at its meetings, addresses 
are given before it by Professors, some of whom are honorary mem- 
bers, and the society has occasionally provided public lectures by 
men of ability and eminence. The Friars, though much less literary 
than the Ibis, showed its interest in scholarship, or perhaps made a 
bid for the favor of the Faculty and the Boards, by giving a cup to 
be held by the Greek Letter fraternity which had attained the best 
rank during the preceding semester. The Abraxas has been regard- 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 321 

ed as a successor of Theta Nu Epsilon, a national interfraternity 
fraternity of a very lively nature. 

But notwithstanding their vivacity the Abraxians followed in the 
footsteps of the Friars by giving a cup to be adorned with the colors 
of the school whose graduates, provided that they were at least 
three in number, attained the best rank at Bowdoin during the first 
semester of Freshman year. The rivalry between the Friars and the 
Abraxas soon became intense, although they were Junior societies, 
it is said that men were approached at the end of Freshman year, 
and that three men were sometimes taken in order to get one. It was 
proposed that the interfraternity societies be abolished and that 
there be established in their place one honorary society in each class, 
like the societies at Yale, and that the members be publicly invited at 
special "Call Day." The suggestion met with sharp opposition from 
alumni. The time of the proposal was peculiarly inopportune. A 
novel, Stover At Yale, which gave a very unfavorable picture of the 
Yale societies, had recently been published and had obtained a wide 
circulation ; and the views of the author, and an unfortunate incident 
at a recent Tap Day, were used as arguments against the proposed 
change. But its friends, though willing to give up Call Day, stood 
by the rest of the plan and in 1922 three class societies, for which 
special duties were found, were established by act of the Student 
Council and the Friars, Abraxas and U. Q.'s were dissolved. The 
Ibis was judged to be of a different nature and was spared. But 
the new class societies failed to take root and in 1924 they met the 
fate of their predecessors. 

The abolition of student societies was in accordance with precedent 
established nearly a century before, the Faculty having been specifi- 
cally authorized by the Boards to dissolve any clubs which might 
have a "tendency contrary to the interests of science and morality." 
In the first twenty-five years of the college history three clubs were 
thus abolished. Their purposes, at least their apparent purposes, 
were to eat eggs, to study law, and to cultivate music, and they bore 
the names of the Ovarian Society, the Law Club, and the Pan- 
Harmonic Society respectively. 

The Ovarian Club was the oldest of the three, having been founded 



322 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

in 1806. As befitted an Ovarian club the badge was egg shaped, the 
President was known as the Most Glorious Grand Rooster and the 
Secretary as the Great Chicken. The records state that at an initia- 
tion Dunlap, the Most Glorious Grand Rooster, extended his paw to 
the new members. At one meeting a dissertation on eggs was de- 
livered. The meetings were convivial, but certain limitations were 
imposed. It was at first provided that only four bottles of wine 
should be brought before a meeting, the number was increased to five, 
then to six and then to half a bottle for each member at the meeting. 
Every member absent from a meeting was fined a bottle of the best 
wine unless he had an excuse satisfactory to the President. In 
January, 1811, it was provided that there should be other refresh- 
ments such as biscuit and cheese. On Christmas, 1811, it was voted 
to purchase a dozen and a half of wine glasses. Like other societies 
the Ovarian had an anniversary feast, the records state that at the 
first anniversary the society "had a Salmon 4 ' for supper, etc." 

The society, however, was not for eating and drinking only. At 
each meeting there was a sort of mock trial and the member who 
lost an action was fined twenty-five cents. During the first years 
there were also forensics at the meetings. At some meetings the 
exercises were more elaborate. The records of August 10, 1808, 
state that Lord was appointed to read a poem, Cobb to give a Latin 
oration, Southgate and Waldo to deliver forensics, McArthur to 
bring an action and Southgate and Cobb to provide refreshments. 
Lord was the future President of Dartmouth, Cobb bore a well-known 
Bowdoin name, was an intimate friend of Southgate and was known, 
says Mr. Cleaveland, "for his consistent piety and exemplary life." 
Today the assignment to him of an oration in Latin seems peculiarly 
appropriate. Nathan Cobb of the class of 1926 took the Sewall and 
Emery Latin prizes and assisted in teaching Latin to the Freshmen. 
His brother William of the class of 1928 tutored troubled Freshmen 
and in due time took the Sewall prize. Whether he will take the 
Emery lies in the unknown future, but enough has been accom- 
plished to justify the comment of a student that the Cobb family 
seems to have a corner on the Latin market. It is somewhat sur- 

4 Italics in the original. 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE - 323 

prising to see the names on the roll of the Ovarian. But Nehemiah 
Cleaveland tells us that Nathan Lord's career at Bowdoin was 
distinguished not only for high scholarship but for "great vivacity." 
Moreover, he later resigned from the club. Cobb and Southgate 
were very young, entering at fourteen and barely fifteen respectively. 
If Cobb and Southgate were hopefully pious and moral, Waldo and 
McArthur were much the reverse. Waldo was suspended and did 
not graduate. McArthur, though a trial to the Faculty, obtained 
his diploma. His after life, like that of William Pitt Fessenden, was 
very different from his college life. 

The club was anxious to veil its doings from the eyes of an in- 
quisitive Faculty and the law provided that no Professor should be 
admitted to a room where a meeting was being held and that if the 
occupant was fined for refusing, the other members of the club should 
assist in paying the fine. Later the club appears to have hired a 
room in town. But this precaution proved unavailing as did a vote 
of November 30, 1812, "That drinking be suspend [ed] from the 
club, and that a dinner be substituted in its stead, the last week of 
this term." 

The next year the blow fell and the Ovarian ceased to be. But the 
records were preserved, handed down in the family of a member 
probably, and some years ago were given to the college. Recently 
an old Ovarian badge, a thin metal disk in the shape of an egg, was 
also sent to the library. 

Of the Law Club it may be said that its life was short and dis- 
creditable. On October 8, 1822, the Faculty passed the following 
resolution: "Whereas there exists in College a Club recently estab- 
lished called a Law Club, which society, to the dishonor of college, 
held a meeting on Saturday evening last, at which meeting liquors of 
various kinds were drunk, and whereas the tendency of this Society 
appears both from its constitution and the manner of conducting it 
to be unfavorable to science and morality, therefore voted to pro- 
hibit from this time the meeting of this club." 

The Pan-Harmonic Society appears to have walked in the evil 
ways of the Law Club, but from appreciation of the elevating nature 
of music, when properly performed and of the usefulness of a musical 



324 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

society to the college, or for some other reason the Faculty mingled 
mercy with judgment. Its records of December 3, 1828, state that 
"It appearing on examination that the Pan Harmonic Society, in- 
cluding active and honorary members, 5 have been recently present 
at two convivial entertainments therefore Voted, That, as in the 
opinion of the Executive Government, the Pan Harmonic Society as 
it has been conducted has occasioned irregularities, and by conse- 
quences is in its tendency unfavorable to morality and science, the 
said Society is hereby prohibited from meeting again, unless they 
first present to the Executive Government a certified copy of an 
article in their Constitution, which shall prevent the occurrence of 
such irregularities in future." Apparently the Society did not at- 
tempt to purge itself and quietly dissolved but it is probable that 
some of the members joined in organizing the Pandean Band which 
continued in existence for about fifteen years and assisted at college 
exhibitions and other exercises. 

In 1835 a fourth society, the Old Dominion, was advised by the 
Faculty to dissolve on pain of expulsion of its members. An alum- 
nus writing some fifteen or twenty years later called the society a 
myth rather than a reality, but it held initiations and issued terror- 
inspiring proclamations. In 1834 it was betrayed to the Faculty. 
When advised to dissolve eight members submitted, two continued 
posting on the walls notices of meetings. At the end of the next 
college year six men were initiated into the "Club of Hercules." This 
died a natural death in a year or two, was revived in 1845-1846 but 
soon died again and permanently. 

Most famous of all the societies formed with a purpose of violating 
college rules was old Phi Chi born, as its song proclaims, in '64, on 
May 10th of that year, to be exact. The north end of Winthrop, 
popularly known as Sodom, was for some years unoccupied and one 
or two rooms, 6 appropriately decorated, were used by Phi Chi 
when, as the Sodom County Court, it tried offending Freshmen. The 
culprit was never lead upstairs but was dragged over the roof from 

5 Apparently alumni were setting a bad example to their young brothers. 

6 Tradition said, but incorrectly, that one of these rooms had been occupied 
by Longfellow. 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 325 

Gomorrah or through the Tarpeian Rock, a hole in the middle wall 
between the fourth stories of Gomorrah and Sodom, or was hauled 
up from the ground by a block and tackle. The court was organized 
in legal fashion and counsel were provided for the accused but no 
verdicts of acquittal were ever rendered, even the lawyers for the de- 
fendants only asked for a mitigation of sentence. The initiations, 
which were rough, were never held in the same place twice. 

Numerous pranks were contrived in Sodom and duly carried into 
execution. One of the earliest, most famous and least excusable of 
them was the "borrowing" of the bust of President Cheney of Bates. 
A very lively account of this violation of the rights of property may 
be found in Minot and Snow's Tales of Bowdoin, pp. 19 to 60. 

Another affair which might have led to serious results was the 
interference with a billboard of Bailey's circus. The society re- 
solved that "due sway could not be given to the deep and attractive 
influences of Plato and Aristotle, etc., while this thing of the body 
(in opposition to mind) stood in such close proximity to classic 
ground, therefore, it was resolved to raise [sic] it ignominiously to 
the ground, its appropriate place. If policemen appear and are 
obstreperous hang together and resist." 

Apparently the "raising" was successfully done, but Humpty 
Dumpty was again set up and at the meeting of Phi Chi on June 29 
it was reported that some "foolish individual" had bet a hundred 
dollars that the students could not throw it down again, and that the 
board was guarded by armed watchmen. It was voted to make it a 
class affair that those rooming off the campus should endeavor to 
sleep in the dormitories that night, but in order that the sleep should 
not be unduly prolonged "Asmodeus" [an official name of the presi- 
dent] should keep a well selected assortment of alarm clocks in his 
room. "The disguises were then settled upon, and all further matters 
disposed of in a manner befitting the high intellectual tone of the 
fraternity." 

Phi Chi took the lead in most of the hazing of its day. Its assault 
upon a Freshman room and the pumping of Hawthorne, '74, have 
been noted in an earlier chapter. In the Tales of Bowdoin there is a 
group picture of the active members of Phi Chi taken in 1873. It is 



326 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

interesting to see among them their ex-victim, "Bunny" Hawthorne. 
Next to him stands F. M. Hatch, later Foreign Minister of Hawaii, 
and next to him is Arno Wiswell, the future Chief Justice of Maine. 
Phi Chi lived in spite of the opposition of the Faculty and the soften- 
ing of manners outside the college until the early eighties. In the 
initiation of 1882 a neophyte while being projected down a slide 
struck his head with nearly fatal results. This narrow escape from 
a tragedy proved the final blow and it is probable that no other initia- 
tion was held. The buzz saw known as the hew-gag was subsequently 
given to the college. The "brave old banner" and "the old ancestral 
drum" are said to have been cut in pieces and divided as relics among 
the last members. But for many years the former terror of the col- 
lege lived in E. P. Mitchell's song. In the early nineties, however, if 
not before, some verses were omitted. After Professor Chapman's 
death the verse referring to Chapman and Moore was dropped and to- 
day the whole song is following the society into oblivion. The stu- 
dents seldom sing it among themselves and every year decreases the 
number of alumni who thrill with recollections of pride or terror at 
the once familiar strains. 

During the short period of official class societies the Sophomore 
society bore the name of Phi Chi. Since its abolition there have 
been organizations of Sophomores with varying names such as the 
Vigilantes, the White Owls, etc., whose duty it is to observe and 
restrain the Freshmen. 

Fraternities had been established at Bowdoin for fifty years be- 
fore they were allowed to have chapter houses. But in 1896 the old 
Newman house and lot came into the market and was bought for the 
Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and with some difficulty the Boards 
were induced to permit the erection of a chapter house. One was 
duly built and was ready for occupancy in the fall of 1900. Mean- 
while the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity had purchased a house, re- 
modelled it and had moved in, in February, 1900. 

Probably the Faculty expected that many years would pass be- 
fore more than one or two other fraternities provided themselves with 
chapter houses, but this was a great miscalculation and one for which 




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FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 327 

there was little excuse. A fraternity with a chapter house would be 
much more attractive than one without such a centre, the other 
fraternities took prompt steps to obtain homes of their own and now 
every fraternity at Bowdoin has its chapter house, though some are 
hired not owned. In 1924 Alpha Delta Phi sold its house, to be 
moved off, and erected a new one of brick, the only fraternity house 
at Bowdoin of that material. There was danger that rivalry be- 
tween the fraternities would cause expenditures on their houses which 
would bear heavily on the undergraduate members and lead to appeals 
to the alumni which might interfere with the giving of needed assis- 
tance to the college. Accordingly in 1921 the Faculty voted that 
no new chapter house should be built or old one extended without the 
approval of the committee on buildings and grounds and in 1924 it 
was provided that no new house should be built at an expense exceed- 
ing the replacement cost of the most expensive of the existing chap- 
ter houses. 

The college, itself, has attempted to give the non-fraternity men 
some of the advantages of fraternity life. The Faculty had long felt 
the inequality to which the non-fraternity men were subjected, and 
in the college year 1911-1912 fraternity and non-fraternity men pro- 
tested against it in the Orient, and by petition requested the Faculty 
to provide a remedy. The Faculty arranged for the formation of a 
club of non-fraternity men which should rent one of the college 
houses paying for it in the same manner as the dormitory rooms were 
paid for. The Faculty also voted to ask the Boards to appropriate 
fifteen hundred dollars to furnish the kitchen, dining room and living 
rooms and to bear the living expenses of the club for the first few 
days. The constitution of the club provided for payment each year 
of interest on the sum advanced, and of five per cent of the value of 
the furniture to balance the depreciation. President Hyde said that 
there was danger of some slight loss but that he felt strongly that 
the college ought to assume this risk "in view of the serious reproach 
which continued inequality in treatment of students would bring, 
now that the matter has been brought prominently to student and 
public attention ; and the great advantages that the plan will bring 



328 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

both directly to the students immediately involved and indirectly to 
the College as a whole. Several eastern colleges like Wesleyan, Union 
and Tufts, when confronted by the same problem, have solved it by 
establishing such societies, and have found them both socially and 
financially successful." 

The students occupying the house took the name of the Bowdoin 
Club. But the relations of the members were not entirely harmonious 
and two factions formed, popularly known as the ins and the outs. 
Some twenty members withdrew and formed the local society, Beta 
Chi. Others formed the Phi Theta Upsilon and hired the house for 
a semester, but in 1918 the Beta Chi became a chapter of the national 
society Sigma Nu and the same year the Phi Theta Upsilon was 
taken in by the Chi Psi's whose chapter at Bowdoin had become dor- 
mant in the sixties. 

The college ceased to maintain a club house, but for some years it 
has allowed students who desired to do so to board in one of its 
houses. The college would be pleased to have them make the house 
a gathering-place but they have shown little desire to do so. The 
non-fraternity group is large and heterogeneous and close union 
is difficult, but there have been several cases of fraternity planets 
forming from this nebula and it is reported that another evolution of 
this nature may soon take place. 

The Bowdoin club life of Bowdoin men has not ceased with gradua- 
tion. There are one general and various local alumni organizations. 
The first alumni association was formed in 1835, but though vigor- 
ous at first it soon became inactive. There is evidence that many men 
graduated from the college with unkind memories, due to the aloof- 
ness of professors and a belief that a man's rank was much affected 
by his orthodoxy or the lack of it. There is a letter in the college 
archives written in 1900 by Professor John S. Sewall of the class of 
1850 describing the relations of the college and its alumni in the 
decade of 1850 to 1860. Professor Sewall says: 

"The old Faculty of that time and the Boards failed to manifest 
any interest in their graduates. No catalogues were distributed 
except by the students themselves. No regard was had for alumni 
in election to membership of the Boards — the principle of election 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 329 

seeming to be to choose men who were rich and influential whether 
they were friends of the College or not, it being expected seemingly 
that making them members of the Trustees or Overseers would make 
them friends, and perhaps get gifts of money to the College. The 
first movement to change this state of things I think was in 1865 and 
1866 when the practice began of sending catalogues to alumni whose 
address was known and the program of Commencement week. You 
have the date of the information of the Alumni Ass n I think it was in 
1866. This was a means of change. The alumni began to come. 
They could meet each other at any rate. But more, they began to 
discuss questions, and before long to ask that the Ass n be permitted 
to nominate a proportion of the board of Overseers — and they got 
it. Then there was scarce an alumnus on the Boards — now of the 
Overseers all but three (I believe) are alumni, and of the Trustees 
all but the President and Judge Peters ! Also when a $ B K or other 
oration was to be given, some distinguished stranger was invited not 
an alumnus. Pres* Woods was terribly short sighted in this regard. 7 
Well it is all changed, thank God, and I do not believe there is a 
college in New England about which its alumni gather with more 
interest and affection than Bowdoin — dear old Bowdoin." 

In all or nearly all of the societies mentioned above the social ele- 
ment was very important. Other clubs have been founded, mainly 
for intellectual improvement. In the earlier days of the college 
practice in speaking was most earnestly sought. The extensive train- 
ing in debating given by the Athenaean and Peucinian was not enough. 
In the life of Seargent S. Prentiss there is an account of the 
"Spouteroi," a very informal club of six members of the class of 
1826, all Peucinians. At every meeting the President, that is the 
occupant of the room where the meeting was held, announced a sub- 
ject for debate and every member was obliged to speak. Later there 
was a Freshman debating club, and even in the seventies when the 
interest in debating had much decreased there were class debating 
clubs. But these went the way of the Athenaean and Peucinian, and 
repeated attempts to found a debating society, which would live, 

7 It may be that President Woods in this as in some other matters was wiser 
than his critics. Men from outside were like fresh blood. 



330 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

failed. Finally debating was made a part of the regular course and 
good work was done. 

Numerous clubs have been formed for the study of special subjects 
but most of them have been short-lived. The oldest is the Deutscher 
Verein, which was established in 1895 and was killed by the Great 
War, but has recently been refounded. 

There have been many organizations for the cultivation of music. 
Very early in the college history we find references to a Pleydel So- 
ciety and a Handel Society. A little later there were the famous 
Pandean and Pandowdy or Pandowda Bands, the former did serious 
work, the latter was chiefly devoted to making night hideous and 
there is good evidence that it attained its object. Later various 
musical organizations were formed which failed to take root. But 
in the late nineties successful glee and mandolin clubs were formed 
and gave successful concerts in different Maine towns. In recent 
years more attention has been given in the college to music as an art 
and there has been considerable difference of opinion to whether the 
musical club should be a lot of "jolly boys" pleasing their audiences 
in general and sub-Freshmen in particular by rendering college and 
other lively songs and instrumental pieces with the verve which only 
"students" can give, or whether they shall render classic and difficult 
pieces and, perhaps, win grave and restrained commendation from 
virtuosos. 

With music is closely associated the drama, and Bowdoin stu- 
dents have been successful in amateur theatricals as well as concerts, 
but only in comparatively recent times. Music was a part of the 
church service and if of a serious nature was approved by the Facul- 
ty and Boards from the first, but never would they have consented 
that the youth under their charge should even for a moment have be- 
come actors. Indeed, the laws of the college specifically prohibited 
students attending any theatrical entertainment or idle show in 
Brunswick or Topsham. But in 1875 the Orient suggested the for- 
mation of a "dramatic corps" to raise money for the benefit of boating. 
It said, "We have so large a number to select from that there would 
be no difficulty in properly filling the male roles, and the young 
ladies in the town have already proved their willingness to help in a 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 331 

good cause [by joining the students in a public spelling match given 
in behalf of the boating association]. There are many both in the 
College and in the town who have not only a deep interest in dra- 
matic enterprises but who have already shown positive histrionic 
talent. There seems to us no reason why this talent should not be 
utilized. Entertainments might be given in Brunswick and Bath and 
possibly in some of our neighboring towns. Besides the real ad- 
vantage as a drill in elocution which this might be to those who took 
part in it we can speak from experience in saying that it would 
also be thoroughly enjoyable. A dramatic entertainment is one of 
the few undertakings in which the pleasure overbalances the trouble 
and from which at the same time a handsome sum of money may be 
gained." 

No dramatic society was organized at this time, but in the winter 
of 1877-1878 one was formed called the Dorics. The Faculty did 
not forbid this but it established a censorship. It directed the 
society to be informed that there must be no performances given out 
of town without permission being first obtained and that this would 
not be given unless all profane and improper expressions were left 
out of the play. There was considerable friction between the 
Faculty and the club. Both the receipts and the quality of the act- 
ing fell off and after a brief and troubled existence the Dorics van- 
ished from the college scene. 

It was twenty-five years before another dramatic club was formed 
at Bowdoin, although in 1891 a call for such a society appeared in 
the Orient, and in 1894 a number of the students, including some 
future ministers, took part in a play given by members of the Con- 
gregationalist church, "The Frogs of Windham." 

In November, 1903, a student dramatic club was formed under the 
leadership of James A. Bartlett, '06, and in the following winter the 
club presented a musical comedy, "King Pepper," with Romilly John- 
son, '06, in the title role. The operetta was given in Portland, Lewis- 
ton and Bath as well as in Brunswick and proved a great success. In 
1909 the club was made a permanent organization under the name of 
the Masque and Gown and in 1913 a new constitution was adopted 
which, it was thought, would ensure greater care in the selection of 
managers and of players. The reorganized club soon devoted itself 



332 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

to Shakespeare, giving "The Taming of the Shrew," "As You Like 
It" (twice), "The Merchant of Venice" (twice), "Twelfth Night" 
(twice), "The Tempest," "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "Mac- 
beth," "Othello," and "Much Ado About Nothing." In 1927 "Ham- 
let" was chosen. An important change this year, but one for which 
there were precedents in other colleges, was the playing of the female 
roles by women, the parts of Ophelia and the Queen being taken by 
Brunswick ladies. 

These plays have been given on Wednesday of Commencement 
week. They have been acted in the open air on the broad terrace of 
the Art Building which with its statues of Sophocles and Demos- 
thenes and its Italian loggia forms an excellent background. The 
club has been very fortunate in having a zealous and competent 
coach, Mrs. Arthur Brown of Brunswick. 

Plays have also been given on Ivy Day, they were usually of a 
lighter kind. For several years a "Revue" written by students was 
offered. These plays need scenery and therefore the Cumberland 
Theatre is used. A few years ago the Masque and Gown made suc- 
cessful trips to various towns and cities in Maine. 

The Puritans shunned equally the theatre and the dance hall, and 
for the greater part of the early nineteenth century there were no 
decent theatres or theatrical companies in Maine, but dancing was 
common in the best society, though considered improper for church 
members, and the college did not forbid the students to dance. There 
were two balls at the first Commencement, one of which was given 
by the graduating class, and among the clippings preserved in 
albums in the library is the ticket of admission to the Commence- 
ment ball of 1821 issued to Acting Governor Williamson. Beside 
what may be termed official dances students also gave dances from 
time to time, but it is probable that they were frowned upon by the 
church and the Faculty and that the attendance suffered in conse- 
quence. With the growth j)f a more liberal spirit dancing became 
what may be termed a "recognized sport," under the direction of 
members of the Junior class. Three Junior assemblies were held 
during the winter but for some years they took place in the Town 
Hall. College functions were usually held in Memorial Hall, a build- 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 333 

ing consecrated to the memory of the soldiers of the Civil War. But it 
was only after continued application that permission was obtained 
to use the hall, first for a single assembly and then for a series of 
three. The objections were numerous and not without weight. It was 
said that the hall was not built strongly enough, and that the prepa- 
rations were expensive and disturbed the rooms below for several 
days. It was also said that the winter term was the only one free 
from outdoor athletics, and that dances distracted the minds of the 
students and should not be encouraged officially. There was objection 
not only to dances as such but to holding them in Memorial. The 
Orient said "that there has always been more or less of a feeling that 
the hall is not the place to be used for such purposes." 

Scarcely had the desired privilege been granted than dissatisfac- 
tion was expressed with what had been received. Indeed, while 
arguing that assemblies should be allowed in Memorial the Orient 
said that the question would be entirely settled by the erection of a 
gymnasium with a large smooth floor. In 1909 the Orient asked: "In 
view of the recent liberal donations will not our financial condition 
warrant the expenditure of a few paltry shekels for five or six new 
boards on the floor of Memorial Hall." When the new gymnasium 
was built it made a far better dance hall and the Orient said that the 
preceding year "every one sighed with relief as the last journey was 
taken up and down the hills and valleys" on the floor of Memorial. 
But even the gymnasium floor did not escape criticism. 

In 1915, on the recommendation of the Student Council, the 
Junior assemblies were abolished. They were class rather than col- 
lege affairs and for some years had been poorly attended. Their 
place has been taken by a dance at the end of the football season, 
a Christmas dance, the Sophomore Hop in the winter term and 
formal and informal dances at the chapter houses. 

Student concerts and plays give enjoyment, it is to be hoped, to 
both participants and spectators. There is another undergraduate 
activity which is common in American colleges that usually gives 
those carrying it on more experience than happiness — college jour- 
nalism. This began at Bowdoin almost exactly a century ago with the 
appearance on October 3, 1826, of The Escritoir, controlled and 



334 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

published by "Oliver Dactyle." It was a fortnightly and the sub- 
scription price was two dollars a year. Like other worthy projects 
it was discontinued because of failure of financial support. In the 
last number the editors expressed pleasure at the earnest but un- 
successful efforts which had been made to discover them. Later an 
ex-editor, Rev. Ephraim Peabody, stated that the Escritoir "gave 
us great amusement and was probably of some advantage in promot- 
ing a habit of composition." The editors were six or seven Seniors. 
It is probable that Alpheus Felch, the future United States senator 
from Michigan, was one of them, and that John Owen, the Cambridge 
publisher, was another. The first article in the first number of the 
Quill, the present and it is to be hoped permanent successor of the 
Escritoir, is a brief history of that magazine written by Professor 
Chapman. Professor Chapman says that "the editors wrote upon a 
great variety of subjects from 'Penobscot Indians' to 'Spanish 
Drama,' from 'Anacreon' to 'Alcohol,' from 'Mathematics' to 'Diable 
Boiteux Redivivus.' There was nothing either in title or contents to 
suggest that the magazine was a college publication, with the pos- 
sible exception of an article by Oliver Dactyle himself, entitled A 
Tour from Brunswick to Topsham, which seems to have been intend- 
ed as a burlesque upon the frequent accounts of tours and travels in 
the periodicals of the day. It is not libellous to add that while there 
was no lack of verse in The Escritoir there was a lack of poetry. 
Some of the blank verse of which there were several specimens show a 
degree of skill in the use of that form, but not much poetic insight or 
imagination." 

Twelve years after the death of The Escritoir, in April, 1839, 
there appeared a successor, The Bowdoin Portefolio. The Portefolio 
lived for only seven numbers but like its predecessor had the honor of 
being given a biography in the Quill. Each number contained thirty- 
two pages, the last two or three of which were devoted to editorials 
and college news. There were only three or four tales in the whole 
issue and but one which was in the least degree connected with college 
life. The first number announced that contributions had been prom- 
ised by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry W. Longfellow and Professors 
Smyth, Packard and Goodwin. For the July number, "Longfellow 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 335 

who always kept his promises," sent in a chapter from Hyperion, 
then unpublished, and Professor Goodwin a review of Manzoni's I 
Promessi Sposi, with a translation from the novel. There is verse as 
well as prose in the Portefolio, but it is all serious except a Latin 
epitaph on a moth miller "which had been fatally attracted by the 
brilliancy of the editorial lamp. . . . It is not difficult to read 
even for a Senior, who is popularly supposed to have forgotten his 
Latin, but it was, nevertheless, accompanied by a metrical transla- 
tion ingeniously wrought by the hand of Elijah Kellogg." 

Twenty years after the discontinuance of the Portefolio some stu- 
dents founded a semi-annual, later changed to an annual. It was, 
however, a newspaper rather than a magazine, though it sometimes 
contained brief pieces in verse and prose which would have been suit- 
able for the Escritoir or the Portefolio. 

It was the custom at Bowdoin for the students to issue twice a year 
a pamphlet giving the names of the Faculty and the undergraduates, 
the conditions of admission, the courses of study and so forth. 

In 1858 Isaac Adams and Edward Bowdoin Neally, Seniors, Ste- 
phen J. Young, a Junior, and Samuel Fessenden, a Freshman, pub- 
lished a small pamphlet which beside presenting what may be termed 
official information contained brief editorial articles some of which 
were written with considerable levity. Among them was an address 
to the incoming class tendering good advice to those infants. The 
editors named their magazine the Bowdoin Bugle and evidently hoped 
that it would sound through the years for they expressed their pleas- 
ure "That the students of old Bowdoin have at last taken hold of the 
matter in good earnest, determined to put it through this time." 
Their trust was well founded. For over fifty years the undergrad- 
uates have put the Bugle through, 8 and the Bugle has reciprocated, 
at times with much vigor. At first, indeed, there were no individual 
grinds. The Bugle of 1863 said "It is difficult to delineate the vari- 
ous phases of character observable among the wisdom-seeking vota- 
ries of old Bowdoin ; and as we desire to evade every imputation of 

8 In 1879 the Junior class took full control of the Bugle, furnished the editors 
and assumed financial responsibility. For many years the editorial board was 
composed of a representative of each fraternity and of the non-fraternity group. 
Later an "Art Editor," who furnished some of the illustrations, was added. 



336 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

dealing with personalities, whatever observations, we shall make upon 
our brother-students shall, if possible, be such as will excite the dis- 
pleasure of none." But in 1869 personal grinds appeared in the 
form of a few poetic quotations applied to individuals. Personali- 
ties quickly became more frequent and more stinging till they were 
checked, temporarily by the Faculty, as the result of a court deci- 
sion. Williston Seminary in Massachusetts, like many other institu- 
tions for the education of youth, had a publication similar to the 
Bugle and in the late seventies the editors were sued for libel. In 
vain they pleaded a kind of customary privilege, the court ruled that 
an action would lie. With courage apparently strengthened by this 
decision the Bowdoin Faculty warned the editors of the Bugle of the 
class of '81 that they must be careful what they published. The 
Orient said, "We understand that this subject has been discussed by 
the Faculty before, and the decision in regard to the Williston publi- 
cation no doubt influenced them to act as well as discuss." The 
Orient approved their conduct, the Bugle took a less favorable view 
and printed a "poem" lamenting the loss of a grind on the Faculty 
and that the editors were forbidden 

"... by Prex. and cruel Profs, 
On them to launch their meed of scoffs." 
The class histories were also omitted. These changes were not 
permanent but in time personalities became fewer and milder. The 
'83 Bugle stated that, "Our endeavor has been to present a sharp, 
fresh and interesting Bugle, which, while pleasing to all, would wound 
the feelings of none." But this moderation was not always main- 
tained. Class quarrels were fought, and hard hits at individuals 
came back. The students may have felt that a Pasteurized Bugle 
was no Bugle at all. The '93 Bugle said frankly : "It has been our 
aim to produce such a book as Mr. Wanamaker [The Postmaster- 
General] would not hesitate to allow to pass through the mails, and 
yet one which no Methodist preacher would care to substitute for 
his prayer-book." As far as is known no Methodist or other preacher 
has introduced any part of the Bugle into the church service, but as 
the years passed the grinds have been fewer and somewhat less rough. 
To suppress them altogether might be unwise. They afford an op- 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 337 

portunity for an expression of opinion which should be useful to 
Faculty, Boards and Alumni. The editors on their part should 
recognize their own responsibility and beware of being influenced by 
any personal dislike. 

Objection has been made both by Faculty and students to the in- 
creasing cost of the Bugle. The price of the first Bugle was four 
cents, that of 1890 one dollar and in 1891 President Hyde said in 
chapel that a Bugle should be produced that would sell for twenty- 
five cents ; but the price rose instead of falling. The expense of get- 
ting out the Bugle was partly met by advertisements, which first ap- 
peared in 1874. They have at times been somewhat difficult to ob- 
tain, the merchants feeling that they did not receive a sufficient re- 
turn and the Bugle has printed urgent requests to the students to 
patronize those who have helped it by advertisements. But the re- 
ceipts from the sales and advertisements have proved insufficient to 
meet the bills, and heavy class assessments have been necessary. In 
1924 and in 1925 the tax was eighteen dollars, each member of the 
class, however, receiving a Bugle without extra charge. In 1924 
about fifteen per cent of the class, who were known to be in straitened 
circumstances, were not asked for payment, but in 1925 the word 
went forth that there were to be no exemptions. 

Some official attempts have been made to decrease the Bugle tax. 
One year in the early part of the present century the Bugle cost 
twelve hundred dollars and it is said that the sale, including that to 
Fraternities for exchange, did not average one to each member of the 
class. In March, 1907, the cost of the Bugle to be issued that year 
had reached nine hundred dollars and the Faculty voted to recom- 
mend to the class of 1909 that the total cost of their Bugle should 
not exceed five hundred dollars and that the individual assessments 
should not be over five dollars. The Orient approved the action of the 
Faculty. The editor said that the Bugle was not a good advertise- 
ment for the college, that it gave the impression that assessment and 
expenses in general were high at Bowdoin, and that he had discussed 
the matter with a former Bugle editor who believed that by making 
a few changes the cost could be greatly reduced. An earlier Orient, 
however, had taken a different view. It said, "The class Bugle is one 



338 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

of the few class works in which we take away a tangible recollection 
of our course. We do have our Bugle to look over after other class 
ties have been severed." It claimed that the expense was not an ob- 
jection since it was known and prepared for in advance and that the 
Bugle more than anything else told other colleges what Bowdoin was. 
There is a similar divergence of view among the students today. The 
increase of cost is chiefly due to an improvement in the appearance, 
and a widening of the scope, of the Bugle. For the first few years the 
Bugle was a fly sheet with a picture of the campus for a heading. In 
1867 it became a pamphlet with paper covers. The picture of the 
campus was placed on the back cover and one of the chapel on the 
front. In 1868 the cover was adorned by a bugle. In 1874 the 
name was changed to Bowdoinensia, which was printed diagonally 
across the cover, but the next year the old title was resumed. 

The Bugle grew much thicker, with more numerous illustrations, 
but it lived for thirty years without attaining the dignity of a stiff 
cover. Then under the leadership of George B. Chandler, who had 
put the flag of '90 on the chapel spire, that gallant class crossed the 
Rubicon and their Bugle appeared with a stiff cover, on which, as 
befitted the annual of a learned institution, were pictures of the Phi 
Beta Kappa men of the preceding year. The editors knew that they 
were incurring serious financial danger and one of the illustrations is 
a group of five good looking young men (there were five editors) 
sitting at a table on which are books and papers, on the wall is a sign, 
"The Lord will Provide." But the class graduated without paying 
its Bugle bills and the Bugle of '91 has a picture of a cell in which 
are five young men in prison suits, on the table is a loaf of bread and 
a bucket of water, and a sign on the wall reads : "The Law will Pro- 
vide." However, let it be said to the honor of '90 that its debt was 
ultimately paid. 

In spite of the ill fate of '90 the stiff covers remained. They have 
been of various colors and have borne various devices. The college 
seal has been a special favorite, in one issue there appeared with it 
the chapel, in another the Bowdoin bear. In 1919 a soldier was out- 
lined. For a few years the cover was of limp leather, thereby in- 
creasing both the beauty and the expense of the book. For many 



FRATERNITIES AND SOCIAL LIFE 339 

years each Bugle has had a special dedication. The first was of the 
Bugle of 1879, it ran, "To our Lady Friends ; always full of love for 
us when we are in trouble ; and full of trouble for us when we are in 
love, the hopes of whose approval have made us bustle at our work, 
and (w)hoop because tis finished." The Bugle was sometimes dedi- 
cated to the members of the class, that of '84 was inscribed to the 
members of the class and their girls. In later years it became the 
custom to dedicate the Bugle to a member of the Faculty or to some 
prominent alumnus. There was a sketch of his life and his picture 
was given the place of honor as a frontispiece. In 1919 the dedica- 
tion was 

To those sons of Bowdoin 

who are serving humanity 

and their country 

On land, on sea and in the air 

This book 

Is proudly dedicated. 

The Bugle could only very imperfectly supply the demand for a 
college newspaper and a college magazine, and in 1871 certain stu- 
dents determined to establish a fortnightly periodical that should 
meet both needs, particularly the first. Two of this group, E. P. 
Mitchell of '71 and Harold Wilder of '72, were crossing the campus 
one evening discussing a name for the projected paper when they 
noticed the brightness of the constellation, Orion, and Mitchell sug- 
gested this for a title. But after a little reflection the word seemed 
uneuphonious and inappropriate and he proposed Orient, with spe- 
cial reference to the rising sun on the college seal. The name was 
adopted but provoked much criticism. It was urged that the word 
Orient in no way suggested Bowdoin but only a "down-easter" and 
that to call Bowdoin peculiarly the eastern college was to disregard 
the latitude of Waterville and Orono. To meet these objections two 
years after the founding of the paper its name was changed to The 
Bowdoin Orient, but in ordinary speech and usually in the paper it- 
self it remained simply the Orient. 

The first number of the paper appeared in March, 1871. There 



340 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

were four editors, John G. Abbott, Marcellus Coggan, Herbert M. 
Heath and Osgood W. Rogers, all Juniors ; of these Abbott is said to 
have been the leading spirit. The Orient has at times been accused 
of being too much a mere reflection of official opinion but such a 
charge could not have been brought against its founders. In their 
first issue they censured the excessive attention paid to the classics at 
Bowdoin, attacked the ranking system, often a sore point with the 
students, and expressed a wish that the money spent on the chapel 
had been used to found a professorship. 

At first great attention was paid to the magazine side of the Orient 
and consequently many thought the paper heavy. In 1879 a corre- 
spondent wrote that he did not wish the Orient to be entirely light 
and humorous, "But what we protest against are these long articles 
on subjects which are only for an essay or discussion before a liter- 
ary society and which it is impossible for the average college student 
to treat in an original and readable manner." In 1893 the paper, 
itself, expressed a similar opinion. It said, "Now the Orient is not, 
primarily, a literary magazine, it aims to give a reasonably full 
account of college life, a brief resume of the doings of our graduates, 
and offers an opportunity for free discussion of any subject relating 
to college interests that may arise. The literary department is a 
survival and by no means a survival of the fittest. We do not intend 
to disparage the productions of contributors, but the fact remains 
that the weakest part of the Orient is the so-called literary part." 

Five years later, in 1898, a separate literary magazine was found- 
ed, The Bowdoin Quill, with Percival P. Baxter as the first editor-in- 
chief. Like other magazines it has suffered severely from lack of 
contributions and cash, but it has survived and now its expectation 
of life seems to be good. Like the Orient it receives a subvention 
from the proceeds of the blanket tax of twenty dollars a semester, 
which the college levies on the undergraduates for the benefit of vari- 
ous college institutions. A greater interest in literature among the stu- 
dents has increased the number and quality of the pieces offered for 
publication and the new ideas rampant among the young men of today 
have given many of the undergraduates something to say and a will 
to say it. A Professor stated a few years ago that he disagreed with 



ATHLETICS 341 

the sentiments expressed in the Quill but that for the first time in its 
history the magazine was readable. 

With the establishment of a literary magazine the Orient became 
still more a newspaper, but as it appeared only once a fortnight its 
"news" was very late. This was partially remedied in 1900 by 
making the paper a weekly. 

There is also an unacknowledged brother of the Orient. After 
the expiration of the Orient year a paper of the same size as the 
Orient styled The Bowdoin Occident is sent to all subscribers to the 
former paper. The Occident is devoted to the recital of supposed 
events in which members of thf Faculty, easily recognized under 
slightly altered and somewhat ridiculous names, play a prominent 
part. 

The Orient has a double constituency, made up of graduates and 
undergraduates. What is news to the former is often very antiquated 
to the latter and much alumni news which is of great interest to class- 
mates and friends makes small appeal to the young strangers in 
college. A desire has been expressed for an alumni review, but the 
cost appeared to be prohibitive. A plan, however, has now [1927] 
been worked out by Walter F. Whittier, a member of the Senior 
class, for the publication of an alumni news quarterly, The Bow- 
doin Alumnus. 

From 1922 to 1927 the college possessed a humorous publica- 
tion, The Bowdoin Bearskin. It was founded with the cordial ap- 
probation of the Student Council but failed to secure the support of 
either the Faculty or the students and in May, 1927, an announce- 
ment appeared in the Orient that the Bearskin was in financial diffi- 
culties and would be discontinued. 

The achievements of Peary and of other Bowdoin men in the Arctic 
have suggested the name of another Bowdoin publication, The Ex- 
plorer. This is a leaflet issued at intervals by the Alumni Council to 
inform the alumni of what is going on at the college. 



CHAPTER X 

ATHLETICS 



PHYSICAL TRAINING and athletics were at first no part of 
American college life. During the eighteenth century almost no 
attention was paid to the health of undergraduates. As many people 
believed the enjoyment of various innocent pleasures to be unsuitable 
for a member of the church, so it was often felt that robust health and 
scholarship were hardly consistent with each other; and Gray's de- 
scription of the "Pallid student, with his written roll," was thought to 
be in accordance not only with fact but with nature. The close of the 
century, however, saw a reform in this as in other educational mat- 
ters ; and when Bowdoin opened in 1802 the college took some care 
of the physical as well as of the mental and moral health of the boys 
under its charge. President McKeen gave members of the first class 
plots in his garden, that they might obtain exercise and recreation by 
cultivating them. But, with this exception, the college, during its 
first twenty years, had nothing to do with the exercise of the stu- 
dents except to restrict it. There was excellent pigeon shooting near 
Brunswick, there was also fishing, but in neither sport might the 
undergraduate indulge unless permission was first obtained. By 
1824 conditions became so serious that the college government en- 
couraged athletics, by advice. Longfellow wrote to his father, "This 
has been a very sickly term in college. However, within the last 
week, the government, seeing that something must be done to induce 
the students to exercise, recommended a game of ball now and then ; 
which communicated such an impulse to our limbs and joints that 
there is nothing now heard of, in our leisure hours, but ball, ball, ball. 
I cannot prophecy with any degree of accuracy concerning the con- 
tinuance of this rage for play, but the effect is good, since there has 




a 



ATHLETICS 343 

been a thorough-going reformation from inactivity and torpitude." 
Longfellow, himself, endeavored to take moderate exercise regularly. 
In the letter just quoted he expressed a wish that he had a horse in 
Brunswick, in which case, he said, he would ride daily, in good weath- 
er. About this time came the forerunner of the gymnasium, a bowl- 
ing alley placed where the chapel now stands. 

The interest in ball appears to have developed into a general inter- 
est in athletic training. John Neal of Portland, destined to be 
known as an acute and independent critic and a radical reformer, 
came to Brunswick and gave instruction in boxing, bowling and other 
sports. A bowling alley was set up near where the chapel now 
stands. Most of the students voluntarily associated themselves as 
"gymnics" and petitioned the Boards to erect a shed where they 
might exercise. But the Visiting Committee, while highly approving 
of gymnastics as benefitting the students not only physically but mor- 
ally, stated that Bowdoin could not then afford to erect the shed 
because other and more pressing needs of the college demanded all its 
funds. The same year the Trustees appointed Hon. Stephen Long- 
fellow, the father of the poet, and Rev. Dr. Nichols of Portland, a 
committee to consider the subject of athletic exercises for the stu- 
dents. The committee appears to have made no report, but in 1829 
the Trustees voted that in the fall term a series of lectures, which 
should include the subjects of diet, regimen and exercise, should be 
given to the Seniors and Juniors by the Professor of Anatomy. Stu- 
dents attending were to pay the Professor three dollars each. The 
Overseers appear to have been less appreciative of the value of a 
course in hygiene for they vetoed the resolution. The Trustees asked 
them to reconsider their action but they declined to do so. A com- 
promise vote allowing the Seniors to attend anatomical lectures was 
then passed by both Boards. But many of these lectures were suited 
only for specialists and the next year the vote was repealed in ac- 
cordance with a recommendation of the Visiting Committee. The 
Committee recommended that when practicable a course be given, 
resembling that originally proposed by the Trustees, but apparently 
nothing of the kind was done until the days of Dr. Whittier, over 
half a century later. 



344 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

The students, however, were not discouraged by the conservatism of 
the Boards. The bowling alley disappeared but an out-of-door gym- 
nasium was set up in the pines where the Thomas W. Hyde Athletic 
Building now stands. "This college playground, one of the first in 
America, gave physical training to Bowdoin men for over thirty 
years." But the college authorities were as neglectful of practical 
as they had been of theoretical hygiene. The care and support of 
the gymnasium were left entirely to the students, with somewhat un- 
satisfactory results. The Bugle of 1860 said that the setting up of 
the gymnasium had been made a Freshman duty, that each entering 
class attempted to accomplish something, but that it was opposed by 
the elements and the yaggers [lumberjacks from the woods], and had 
rather a hard time. The Bugle gave the following "summary of the 
present condition of the great department of Callisthenics in Bowdoin 
College, two ropes (suitable for swings), 2 do. (considerably shorter.) 
1 ladder (movable) Iron rings (four inches in diameter, one inch 
wire,) 1 chopping block (for leaping over), 1 wooden frame (a cross 
between a rail fence and a saw horse), 4 big stones (for feats of 
strength), little ditto (for quoits), quant, suf. Pine trees (for 
climbing and raising emotions of the sublime), ad. lib." 

Already, however, successful efforts were being made to obtain 
not only apparatus but a building. The brick and wooden structure 
on Bath Street originally used as a College Commons had fallen into 
decay. Many students petitioned that the building and grounds be 
fitted up as a gymnasium and that a sum equal to the interest on the 
amount thus expended be added to the term bills of the men using it. 
The Visiting Committee of 1859 advised that the request be granted 
and in 1860 the Boards appropriated two hundred and fifty dollars 
for the purpose. In 1861 the Visiting Committee presented an im- 
portant report. They said that "The gymnasium established last 
year seems to have attained an unexpected measure of popularity 
and favor. The Executive Government are unanimous in their testi- 
mony not only as to its favorable influence on the bodily health and 
strength of the students but even as to its very happy intellectual 
and moral blessings. It is thought that in their vaultings and 
strainings and somersets they expend a great amount of animal en- 



ATHLETICS 345 

ergy which might otherwise bring them into serious collision with the 
laws of College, and also that, having opportunity for recreation and 
good influence on the college grounds, they are prevented from re- 
sorting as they have formerly done, to places of questionable char- 
acter elsewhere." 1 

The Committee recommended that one hundred and twenty-five 
dollars be expended on remodelling the building, one hundred and 
thirty-five dollars for shingling the roof, and ten dollars for pur- 
chasing a lancewood bar. The Boards appropriated these sums and 
from time to time various amounts were voted for similar purposes. 

The students had the benefit not only of a building but of a teach- 
er. About 1860 William C. Dole, an ex-prize fighter, the class from 
which gymnasium instructors were then usually drawn, began giving 
instruction at Brunswick in gymnastics. Originally this was a pure- 
ly private matter, like the study of French, thirty-five years before. 
A specialist in a subject not taught by the college appeared at 
Brunswick and held private classes, whether the student members 
paid their fees was no more and no less the concern of the college 
than if they fell into arrears with their tailors. Mr. Dole's work was 
very satisfactory and gradually his position was recognized by the 
college authorities. In 1861 every student signed a petition that the 
college pay Mr. Dole a competent salary and make the gymnasium 
free to all. But such a course seemed too radical to the Visiting 
Committee and to the Boards and they merely voted that students 
who voluntarily subscribed not over a dollar a term to the compen- 
sation of the director of the gymnasium might have that amount 
added to their term bills, provided that the consent of their parents 
or guardians was first obtained. It was doubtless felt the gymnastic 
training was no part of the work of a literary institution and that 
a charge for it should not be made without special permission. But 
in 1863 the Boards appropriated four hundred dollars a year for the 
salary of the instructor in the gymnasium and voted that to defray 
the expenses of the department one dollar and fifty cents be added to 
the term bill of each student. The salary was later raised to five hun- 

1 The report originally spoke of these places as being "elsewhere in the village" 
but the latter part of the statement was crossed out. 



346 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

dred dollars. Mr. Dole served until 1870 when he accepted an offer 
from Yale. He was succeeded by one of the greatest directors of 
physical training that America has produced, Dudley A. Sargent. 
Mr. Sargent was born in Belfast, on September 28, 1849. When a 
boy he joined a circus, but he soon felt a desire for a different posi- 
tion in life and a college education. In 1870 he came to Brunswick 
and was appointed instructor in physical training at Bowdoin. He 
studied a year in the high school, entered college in 1871 and grad- 
uated in 1875. He then resigned his position in the gymnasium and, 
like his predecessor, accepted a call to Yale. 

Mr. Sargent appears to have been dissatisfied with his treatment 
by the Boards, although in 1872 his salary had been raised from five 
hundred to eight hundred dollars. In his letter of resignation he 
said that students received their tuition for sitting in the library for 
an hour or for ringing the chapel bell, but that he was obliged to pay 
his janitor out of the apparatus money. President Chamberlain was 
most anxious to retain Sargent's services, but the Boards would not 
increase his salary, and he went first to Yale and then to Harvard, 
where he devised a system of physical exercise based on individual 
measurements, which gave him a national reputation. However, 
Bowdoin men can have the satisfaction of knowing that most of the 
principles on which the system was founded were worked out at the 
Maine college. 

During Mr. Sargent's period of office gymnastic exercise was re- 
quired of all students, an order to that effect having been issued by 
President Chamberlain on January 20, 1872. This marked a great 
change in the conception of a college, and much pains were taken to 
persuade conservatives that the ideals of Bowdoin were not being 
lowered or the safety of the students endangered. The Visiting 
Committee called particular attention to the fact that the gymnasi- 
um had been running for several years without any accident of im- 
portance, and they quoted statements of members of the Faculty to 
prove that the exercise had benefitted the students mentally and 
morally as well as physically. Annual exhibitions were held, but 
these were of doubtful value as propaganda though stimulating to 
the students. Some of the feats were decidedly spectacular, unless 



ATHLETICS 347 

exactly performed they were perilous, and many who saw or heard 
of them freely expressed their disapprobation of what they consid- 
ered useless and dangerous circus tricks. In July, 1875, Mr. Sar- 
gent issued a circular describing and defending gymnastic training 
at Bowdoin. He said that during the fall and winter terms every 
student not physically incapacitated was required to exercise for 
half an hour a day, five days a week, the exercises consisting of thirty 
movements, each lasting one minute. "The discipline is peculiar. 
Each student is permitted to talk, to laugh, and sing if he chooses, 
provided he can do it and attend to his business." Mr. Sargent 
stated that the regular exercises of the college classes were distinct 
from the work of the voluntary division of "proficients," that they 
were not spectacular, and that the object in prescribing them was 
the improvement of the health of the students. Of the exhibitions he 
said that "Some of the feats are exceedingly difficult and can only 
be executed after many years of practice. When accomplished they 
amount to nothing in themselves, but the power of concentration and 
the rapid and responsible exercise of judgment which are so fre- 
quently called for, will be of great service to a man in any vocation 
in life." Mr. Sargent said that if there were no sports, contests, 
and exhibitions, "an element would be set free which in a short time 
would demoralize the whole institution. This is the work which gives 
to energy and daring a legitimate channel. It kindles enthusiasm 
and furnishes a stimulant to the indolent and inactive. Without the 
reacting influence of these 'sports,' the class exercises would soon be 
devoid of interest, and without interest any system of physical cul- 
ture, however well-planned, can be considered little less than a fail- 
ure." This was an anticipation of a truth which is often regarded 
as a recent discovery, that formal exercise done as a task is of in- 
ferior value. A Bowdoin graduate, however, had already proclaimed 
the principle. In 1861 the Brunswick Telegraph, then edited by 
A. G. Tenney, of the class of 1835, said: "The introduction of the 
bowling alleys was a capital move, as bowling combines in an eminent 
degree amusement with exercise. To derive good from exercise one's 
mind must be diverted." 

In the six years after Mr. Sargent's resignation there were three 



348 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

instructors in physical training, Frederick K. Smyth, for two years, 
who was also tutor in mathematics, Alfred Greeley Ladd, a Senior in 
the Medical School, for one year, and D. A. Robinson, a medical 
student and instructor in mathematics, for three years. Then for 
five years no instructor was hired, but the captain of the varsity 
crew did all that was done in that capacity without pay. In 1886 
Frank N. Whittier was appointed Director of the Gymnasium at a 
salary of six hundred dollars a year. 

To the Bowdoin men of today "Doc Whit" needs no introduction ; 
but for the alumni of tomorrow when, like Professor Cleaveland, 
President Hyde and others of the greatest men of the Faculty he 
shall have become a tradition, some account of him may be useful. 

Frank Nathaniel Whittier was born at Farmington, Maine, on 
December 12, 1861, fitted for college at Wilton Academy and grad- 
uated from Bowdoin in 1885. He made his mark in college, both as 
a scholar and an athlete, being a member of the Phi Beta Kappa 
and captain of the first Bowdoin crew to win an intercollegiate boat 
race. 

After graduation Mr. Whittier began the study of law, but on re- 
ceiving the call to the Bowdoin gymnasium he accepted it and re- 
mained there first as instructor and then as Professor of Hygiene 
and Physical Training until his death in December, 1924. Mr. 
Whittier took a course in the Medical School and received his M.D. 
in 1889 ; in 1897 he was appointed an instructor in the School and 
later became Professor of Pathology and Bacteriology. He was in- 
tensely devoted to the School and has been called the heart of the 
institution. 

"One interesting thing about Dr. Whittier was that without a 
great deal of university or graduate training he had in very full 
measure the attitude of the scholar and the scientist. He did as 
much original research as did any other member of the faculty of his 
time, perhaps, indeed, he did more. Some of his discoveries were of 
national importance, as for example, his demonstration microscopi- 
cally that the firing pin of every rifle has an individuality of its own, 
that every cartridge leaves, as it were, its own finger prints." 

Dr. Whittier was able to accomplish so much in his double role as 



ATHLETICS 349 

gymnasium director and medical professor because of his great 
physical strength and vitality, which, however, at last gave way un- 
der the burdens which he insisted on carrying alone, and his cease- 
less energy. President Sills says : ". . . as one passes swiftly in re- 
view those busy years, it is not surprising to find the keynote to Dr. 
Whittier's career in hard work, in tireless industry. Of all the men 
of my acquaintance he worked the hardest and rested the least. He 
was not a busy man with the fretfulness and fussiness that is the 
bane of so many Americans and that is so essentially childish. I 
never knew him to say 'I'm busy.' But he worked as few other men 
work, and long into the night. Those lights in his laboratory one 
could never find out, passed he by ever so late." 

But Dr. Whittier was no scientific recluse, thinking only of retorts 
and gases. He had a keen knowledge of human nature and had he 
followed his original intention of being a lawyer he would have been 
a redoubtable champion in forensic conflicts. President Sills says: 
"Dr. Whittier was a positive man, a good fighter. In faculty he was 
a most resourceful debater, a skillful fencer, a stout advocate of his 
cause and best of all, perhaps, one who knew how to take a defeat 
and how to come up smiling. He was a patient man, tenacious, in 
many ways very conservative, with a constitutional liking for things 
as they are and with a distrust of newfangled notions particularly 
in physical training. In politics he was a staunch Republican and 
on one occasion at least rejoiced in being the sole member of the Fac- 
ulty to refuse [to sign] a political petition. The term 'stand-patter' 
had no terrors for him. 

"Dr. Whittier had a keen and very lively mind. He was the wittiest 
man amongst us, with a dry, quaint humor that was expressive of his 
own elusive personality. It really was an intellectual treat to hear 
Dr. Whittier take up a subject, for his quaint whimsical analysis 
— turn it about — play with it — delay until the very end to bring 
out the point. He exemplified in such exercise American humor at 
its best." 

But by the majority of Bowdoin men Dr. Whittier may be re- 
membered less for his scientific attainments or even for his forcible 
and original way of putting things, though his ability helped to make 



350 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

many a student-meeting a success, than for his development of 
physical training at Bowdoin, his championship of strenuous but 
honest athletics and his interest in the individual students. Presi- 
dent Sills truly says : "He knew the undergraduate in a way that 
no one else amongst us — except possibly the Dean — knew them. 
He counselled them as a wise physician and as a friend, no less ; and 
if sometimes there were something a bit direct and stoical in his pre- 
scriptions there was never a doubt about the kindly heart under- 
neath. . . . No other member of the faculty did so much to help 
undergraduates who were in need of work or of financial assistance. 
How often professors and students, too, would say to discouraged 
and needy boys, 'Go to Dr. Whittier and he will help you.' . . . 
That same interest and sympathy led him to climb dormitory stairs 
or walk to distant chapter houses at all hours of day or night when 
students were ill or hurt. Like all other physicians he made occa- 
sional mistakes, but these were never due to lack of care or of un- 
willingness to consult others." 

Dr. Whittier's services were rewarded in the best way, by appre- 
ciation and success. ". . . His was a happy life and a happy death. 
He wished for the chance to serve his college and it was given him in 
full measure. He wanted always to die in harness, and death came 
to him suddenly, early on that December morning while he was on 
the train to Portland on professional business. 

"Others will take up his manifold tasks and duties ; for the Col- 
lege goes on as her servants do their work and die. His influence 
will for long years to come inspire and help. After unremitting toil 
to him comes rest, after labor, repose, and the sweetest Nunc dimittis 
must have stolen on his ears, for he must have known that he had 
done good work." 2 

In 1886 the Department of Physical Training, after being tossed 
hither and thither, at last obtained a building specially constructed 
for its use. "Commons Hall" was small and ill-adapted for exer- 
cises and in 1873 the lower story of the unfinished Memorial Hall 
was appropriated temporarily for gymnastic purposes. But the 

2 The substance of this sketch and all the quotations are taken from President 
Sills's Memorial Address. 



ATHLETICS 351 

hall proved very cold in winter, as cloth stretched across the win- 
dow frames took the place of glass. In 1879 the Visiting Com- 
mittee reported that there was great need of a new gymnasium, that 
plans had been drawn for one to cost from five thousand to six 
thousand dollars, and asked : "Is there not some graduate of the col- 
lege — some poor narrow-chested, weak-voiced, pale, dispeptic, who 
in mercy to those who are to come after him, and moved by his own 
miserable experience, to the generous act, will adorn the grounds and 
bless posterity in the gift of this building?" No such benefactor ap- 
peared and later a committee was appointed by the Boards to solicit 
subscriptions, but it met with small success. "In 1884 William 
Blaikie, a famous lecturer on physical training, spoke in Memorial 
Hall on the benefits of gymnasium exercise. The students hoped for 
great improvements as a result of the lecture, but, as far as is known, 
nothing came of it except that one of the professors appeared at the 
gymnasium and permanently borrowed the only really good pair of 
Indian clubs." The students were becoming very impatient with the 
condition of affairs. The Orient said: "We submit that it would be 
better to allow the students to spend their time for exercise out-of- 
doors in the pure air where every one now spends his leisure hours, 
than to keep them swinging clubs, and pulling weights in such an 
unventilated old refrigerator as the gymnasium now is." Next year 
there was an improvement. The completion of Memorial Hall had 
dislodged the Department of Physical Training, but the Boards re- 
modelled half the ground floor of Winthrop for its benefit and the 
Orient rejoiced over the acquisition of "a baseball and boating room 
twenty feet wide by a hundred feet long, well lighted and warmed and 
completely furnished with dumb-bells, Indian clubs, parallel bars 
and rowing weights." This, however, was only a makeshift and dis- 
content reappeared. But the gymnasium fund was small, and the 
members of the committee having it in charge were reported as being 
unwilling to build until they could erect a substantial and permanent 
structure. Even the Orient, which had favored immediate action, 
admitted that "unless a temporary building were glaringly incon- 
venient, we should in all probability be saddled with it permanently." 
It was the more strange that funds could not be raised, as men not 



352 THE HISTORY OE BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

over inclined to make physical training a part of college work now 
hoped that a gymnasium might stave off what they regarded as the 
evil of intercollegiate athletics. Moreover the number of students at 
Bowdoin was decreasing and one reason was the little opportunity it 
gave for physical training. But this want was soon to be supplied, 
thanks in the first instance to a more persuasive lecturer than 
Blaikie. In 1885 Dudley A. Sargent, then Assistant Professor of 
Physical Training and Director of the Gymnasium at Harvard, 
lectured before the Bowdoin students on physical training, and 
stated at the close of his address that if Bowdoin would build a gym- 
nasium he would be glad to equip it himself. Next day the Faculty 
subscribed a thousand dollars to a fund for a gymnasium and voted 
to ask the Boards to build one at the expense of the college, if the 
money could not be obtained in some other manner. The Boards as- 
sented. There was a slight delay, but in 1886 the gymnasium was 
completed and ready for use. 

It was said later that the erection of the gymnasium was a turn- 
ing point in the history of Bowdoin, that it showed that the college 
was alive to the needs of the present. For several years the building 
had no name, then in 1889 the Boards voted that it should be called 
the Sargent Gymnasium. In the same year graded courses in physi- 
cal training were introduced and counted toward a degree, although 
rank depended on participation, not achievement. It is said that 
Bowdoin was the first college in America to give credits for physical 
training. As some students might be able to "cut gym" extensively, 
yet get a passing mark by good work in literary branches, the Fac- 
ulty authorized the instructor in Physical Training to require satis- 
factory work in his department as a condition of promotion to a 
higher class. The attendance rule was rigidly enforced ; only the 
Faculty could grant exemption and this was not to be obtained with- 
out good cause. The records show that Mr. Doolittle was excused 
from exercises until he should recover his health, and a like privilege 
was given to several students that they might earn money to defray 
their college expenses, when the earning necessitated considerable 
exercise ; but a petition for leave to substitute the taking of boxing 
lessons for gymnasium work was refused. Special permission to use 



ATHLETICS 353 

the gymnasium was given to citizens of Brunswick of various ages, 
the list including both high school boys and clergymen. 

The Bowdoin students appreciated the advantages of physical 
training, but sometimes showed their approval in a reprehensible 
manner. In 1891 the Faculty voted "that Dr. Whittier be requested 
to formulate some good plan for checking the custom of removing 
clubs and dumb-bells from the gymnasium without permission." 

Within ten years after the completion of the gymnasium, which 
had been hailed as so great an addition to the college equipment, 
there came a demand for a new and larger one. For this there were 
two main reasons, an increase in the number of students, and a 
change in gymnasium methods. Indoor athletics were displacing the 
Swedish and German mass drills, which required much less space. 
President Hyde, in his report for 1896, set forth the need of a new 
gymnasium, but without result. In 1901 some of the alumni gave 
money for the drawing of plans for a gymnasium, and the archi- 
tect who had built the "Sargent" prepared them. President Hyde in 
his report for the year described this preliminary work and said : "In 
the past Bowdoin has had the good fortune to find friends to give 
needed buildings and it is to be hoped that the same fortune will now 
produce a gymnasium suited to our needs." But in the depleted 
state of the college finances an endowment of the building was also 
necessary and it proved impossible to raise sufficient funds. 

Ten years later the Faculty decided to make an earnest effort to 
obtain a modern gymnasium. There had been just criticism of the 
plans drawn in 1901, the last decade had seen much improvement in 
gymnasium construction, and it was determined to start anew by 
"seeking suggestions from the new gymnasiums at Dartmouth, 
Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania." In considering 
means of obtaining funds the attention of the Faculty was drawn to 
the circumstance that Mr. John S. Bowdoin of New York, a mem- 
ber of the Morgan firm, was a descendant of Governor Bowdoin, and 
that he had already shown his interest in the college by a gift to the 
library of a fund of one thousand dollars, the income to be used to 
purchase books relating to the Huguenots. Mr. Bowdoin was ap- 
proached, perhaps with a hope that he would, himself, furnish the 



354 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

money needed for a gymnasium. This he did not feel able to do, but 
he promised $10,000 if an additional sum of $90,000 were raised 
during the year. A circular was then sent to the alumni reporting 
Mr. Bowdoin's pledge and urging that the completion of Dr. Whit- 
tier's quarter century of service be signalized by the erection of a 
new gymnasium. The circular stated that "with meagre and inade- 
quate facilities he [Dr. Whittier] has won from Dr. Sargent and 
other experts the praise of conducting the best course of physical 
training given in an American college ; and at the same time has done 
more than anyone else to keep Bowdoin athletics in the sound, 
healthy condition in which they have been throughout this period. 
To crown this period by a new gymnasium, as General Hubbard 
crowned a similar period of service by Dr. Little with a new library, 
would, in addition to meeting an urgent need, fittingly express the 
appreciation of our alumni and friends for this notable period of 
service by one of the most effective and loyal servants any college 
ever had." The response to the circular was disappointing. Many of 
the older graduates could see no need for a gymnasium so much more 
elaborate than that of their day. They told President Hyde, "This 
is a young man's enterprise, let the young fellows show whether they 
want it or not." The Faculty now turned to the undergraduates. 
On April 21, 1911, a student rally was held in behalf of a gymnasi- 
um. President Hyde described the attitude of the alumni; Dr. 
Whittier told how student subscriptions had caused General Hub- 
bard to give a grandstand and said that the success or failure of the 
movement for a gymnasium would be determined by the action of the 
undergraduates. Very properly no attempt was made to take ad- 
vantage of the excitement of the moment, but the students were re- 
quested, after cool consideration, to state the amount which they 
would subscribe. The young men rose nobly to the occasion ; the un- 
dergraduates offered over eight thousand dollars, over a thousand 
more was pledged by students of the Medical School. The Orient 
stated that the greater part of these pledges was made by the Seniors 
and Juniors, and that the payment would come upon them, not their 
parents. In recognition of this generosity the Faculty declared the 
next Saturday a holiday. Even chapel was not held. 



ATHLETICS 355 

On May 5 Mr. Hyde of Bath offered to give $25,000 for an 
athletic building in memory of his father, General T. W. Hyde. On 
May 10 a second call to the alumni was issued and on June 1, a third, 
but by June 8 the pledges amounted to only $81,000 and $5,000 more 
from Mr. Bowdoin "if the hundred thousand were secured by Com- 
mencement." The subscription seemed on the verge of failure, but 
at the last moment a united and determined rush carried the ball 
over the line. At the Commencement dinner President Hyde thus 
described the victory: "On June 13, the committee finding that 
$10,000 was still needed, issued a final urgent appeal with a blank 
form of subscription attached. In response to this appeal money 
came pouring in, mainly in small subscriptions, at the rate of $2,000 
a day, three days later, June 16th, the entire sum was subscribed and 
at Commencement there was an over-plus of five thousand dollars." 

But the balance, while gratifying, proved embarrassingly small. 
The Athletic Building when finished cost forty-two thousand dollars 
instead of twenty-five thousand. Mr. Hyde, however, met the ad- 
ditional expense himself in order that the memorial to his father 
might be his gift alone. By careful management the gymnasium was 
completed without incurring a deficit, but though essentials were 
obtained it was necessary to forego luxuries. In a speech at the 
dedication of the building the architect said: "I have seen a good 
many gymnasiums first and last in my pilgrimages among the vari- 
ous colleges. Some of them are built of stone and finished regardless 
of expense, like that at Northwestern University. Some are the 
flimsiest wooden buildings, like that at the University of California, 
and some are built for business, like that at Bowdoin. As I said be- 
fore, Dr. Whittier and ourselves have attempted to get the biggest 
building we could for the money without the use of any unnecessary 
expenditure. Our walls are finished inside in plain brick, unadorned, 
our ceilings are sheathed, our finish is hard pine. On the exterior we 
have practically nothing to offset the severe lines of the construction 
except the beaming seal of Bowdoin which adorns the pediment, and 
two unassuming lanterns to differentiate the front door from the 
back." 



356 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

The Gymnasium has a frontage of 80 feet and a depth of 140 feet. 
On the first floor are the lockers, the dressing rooms, managers and 
instructors rooms, and rooms for boxing, fencing, and handball. On 
the second floor are the main exercising room, 112 feet by 76 feet, a 
smaller exercising room, a trophy room and offices. 

The building is equipped with the most approved apparatus, is 
heated and lighted by modern methods, and is supplied with a venti- 
lating system able to change the air throughout the building every 
twenty minutes. 

The Athletic Building is connected with the Gymnasium. It has 
an earth floor 160 feet by 120 feet, and a one-twelfth mile running 
track 10 feet wide. In this building are set off spaces 120 feet by 
40 feet for track athletics and 120 feet by 120 feet for a full sized 
baseball diamond with space to overrun the bases by nearly 15 feet. 

Organized sports came to Bowdoin about the same time as did 
collegiate instruction in gymnastics. 

"In the first number of the Bowdoin Bugle published July, 1858, 
there is editorial notice of the recent formation of two boat clubs, 
the 'Bowdoin' formed from the class of 1860 and the Quobonack 
from the class of 1861. '60's club, which had already put an eight- 
oared boat upon the river, contained sixteen members, to whom 
probably belongs the credit of being the founders of boating at 
Bowdoin. . . . 

"On another page of the Bugle we are told that their boat was 
fifty feet long, painted straw color with blue stripe, and carried 
two flags, in the bow a white Jack with Bowdoin inscribed in blue 
letters, in the stern the American ensign. The uniform worn is de- 
scribed as consisting of blue shirts with white trimmings, blue pants, 
belts and straw hats. Tradition tells us further that Hon. W. W. 
Thomas, Jr. rowed stroke and Hon. T. B. Reed No. 7, but is silent 
concerning the positions of the rest of the crew. . . . 

"The Quobonack Club was only a few weeks behind the 'Bowdoin,' 
for the Brunswick Telegraph of June 18, 1858, chronicles the ar- 
rival of the six-oared boat purchased by the members of the Fresh- 
man class. This boat is described as being forty-two feet long, 



ATHLETICS 357 

bow a white Jack with Quobonack inscribed in red letters, in the 
stern the Union Jack. Of the make-up of the crew we know nothing, 
but the before-mentioned copy of the Bugle tells us that Thomas W. 
Hyde was president of the club, and among the names we notice 
F. L. Dingley and Henry J. Furber. 

"It is probable that these first boat clubs were formed more with 
a view to recreation than for actual racing. . . . Still we are told 
that the '61 club intended to send a crew to the regatta at Wor- 
cester, although the project seems to have promptly fallen through 
on account of lack of enthusiasm. The graduation of the classes of 
'60 and '61, together with the breaking out of the war of the re- 
bellion, put an end to boating for a time, and a touching obituary 
notice appears in a contemporary number of the Bugle. The classes 
of '66 and '67 attempted to revive the boating interest, but nothing 
definite was done." 

In 1868, 1869, and 1870 state regattas were held at Brunswick, 
and although the students did not take part 3 the contests did much 
to stimulate interest in rowing at Bowdoin. A Boating Association 
was formed, a fund was raised by contributions from graduates and 
undergraduates and boats were purchased. 4 The first Bowdoin re- 
gatta was held on June 11, 1871. The same year the Sophomores 
bought a four-oared boat. The college also possessed a four-oared 
racer, the Forget-me-not, and it was decided to enter the state 
regatta. But the college crew had such hard luck, the bow oar 
having to give up on account of boils, and the stroke on account 
of whooping cough, that it was finally decided to send the Sopho- 
mores "to represent the college." But before reaching the starting 
line an oar broke, one of the rival crews refused to wait, and Bowdoin 
was out of the race. 

"In 1872 it was determined to represent Bowdoin at the inter- 

3 In the regatta of 1870 the college entered a crew but an oar broke as it 
rowed to the line and time to get another was refused. 

4 The names of some of the boats at Bowdoin bear witness to the culture 
and vivacity of the youth who rowed them. Three wherries were called the 
Mephistopheles, the Gil Bias and the Don Quixote, three single shells the Cupid, 
the Venus and the Psyche. 



358 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

collegiate regatta held at Springfield. The students gave a gym- 
nastic exhibition at Lamont Hall to raise funds for boating. A six- 
oared shell was ordered and the crew went into training early in the 
season. Price, a member of the celebrated St. John Paris crew, 
which had won the races at the Paris Exposition of 1867, was en- 
gaged as a trainer. Then came the traditional Bowdoin ill-luck of 
which boating men have always complained. First Captain Sargent, 
. . . had the misfortune to injure his arm so severely as to make it 
necessary for him to stop rowing for a time. Next, the new shell 
which had been ordered from New York was so injured in trans- 
portation that it was several weeks before it could be repaired. In 
spite of these misfortunes the crew developed great speed and felt 
confident of winning. The race was rowed at Springfield, July 23, 
1872. Bowdoin took the lead at the start and had held it for two 
miles, when Hooker, who had been considered one of the strongest 
men in the boat, had a nervous spasm and was obliged to stop rowing. 
Thus handicapped, Bowdoin finished fourth but was credited with 
the best college record for one and one-half miles. The order in 
which the crews crossed the finish line was : Amherst, Harvard, Am- 
herst Agricultural, Bowdoin, Williams, Yale." The breakdown of 
Hooker, the bow oar, was not unexpected to those who knew the 
facts. He had distinguished himself in athletic exercises but devel- 
oped weakness in rowing practice at the close of the training season. 
But the time for the race was so near that it was thought inadvisable 
to make a change. The Orient said of the breakdown, "There is 
poor consolation in the fact that this mistake has taught us a most 
emphatic lesson. We only hope it may be profited by. 

"With this lesson before us we shall be surprised if hereafter any 
one will be allowed to pull in the college boat on any other considera- 
tion than that he is the best to be obtained. Aware that the public 
judge only by the result of the race, we offer these remarks in no 
sense as a defense for Bowdoin, but as we said before, deeming it 
proper that our friends should know the position of matters, and 
that our defeat was not owing as many thought, to the quick stroke 
pulled by our crew, nor to their appearing too eager to keep the 



ATHLETICS 359 

lead for the first part of the race, or, as one of the crew said, to 
taking the lead at the wrong end of the race. 5 

"The next year Bowdoin's prospects seemed bright. With four 
of last year's six in the boat, the same coach, and the experience they 
had gained, it hardly seemed possible that the white banner should 
fail to win an honorable place. The race was rowed at Springfield, 
July 17, 1873. There were eleven colleges represented. Bowdoin 
and Cornell had the ill luck to draw positions on the shallows on the 
extreme right. Under the circumstances Bowdoin made a good fight, 
finishing seventh according to the newspaper accounts, although the 
Bowdoin Orient claimed a tie for fourth place with Columbia and 
Cornell. 

"In 1874 the famous drill rebellion so occupied the attention of the 
students that it was not possible to send away a crew. 

"In 1875 the regatta was held at Saratoga. On account of lack 
of funds necessary to secure a suitable boat, our crew was obliged 
to practice in a lap-streak, weighing nearly 500 pounds, until within 
a few weeks of the race. This time there were thirteen colleges rep- 
resented. Our men finished tenth, and it is a relief to learn that 
they offered no excuse for their defeat except the very satisfactory 
one that they couldn't row as fast as the other crews. The next 
year marked a change of policy. It seemed best to withdraw from 
the National Association and to work for a new boathouse and the 
promotion of class races. The class of 1873 had given a cup to be 
rowed for annually by the class crews, and for the next decade the 
class race was one of the great events of the college year. It is one 

5 A very stirring account of the race by one of the crew, Dr. D. A. Robinson, 
'73, may be found in Minot and Snow's Tales of Bowdoin. Dr. Robinson says 
in a letter to the author: "In the race at Springfield in 1872 the Bowdoin crew 
rowed the first half-mile in 2 min., 2 sec, and the mile inside of five min. This 
is the record for six-oared boats. 

"Hooker was not considered 'one of the strongest men in the boat,' but was the 
weakest. In fact, Dr. Mitchell who examined us advised that he be dropped 
from the crew on account of weak heart. But as the Senior class was managing 
the crew and Hooker was the only man in the class who could possibly do the 
work he was retained. What he did in the race he did several times in training 
when we rowed 'on time.' He simply stopped rowing a few seconds until he 
caught his breath, but it was enough to throw the crew out of stroke and let 
Amherst and Harvard pass us. We came in a tie for third place with Amherst 
Aggies. 

"We of course felt badly to lose the race for we had made much better time 
in practice than the winning crew made in the race." 



360 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

of the few college institutions that has had vitality enough to be 
handed down without break to the present time [1893]. Each year 
the winning crew has the privilege of decorating the prize cup with 
its class ribbon. Formerly the names of the winners were inscribed 
on a parchment which was framed and kept in the College Library. 
On this parchment we find the names of some of the most successful 
of Bowdoin's younger alumni, among them R. E. Peary of the vic- 
torious crew of '77. The erection of a new boathouse in 1879, at a 
cost of about $800, shows that a healthy interest in boating existed 
during this period." The Orient highly approved the change from 
college to class races. It said, "By sending a crew one year and 
withdrawing for the next year or two, we lose half the benefit and all 
the interest of the races. We are continually starting afresh. We 
have no experience or training to build upon when a crew is to be 
organized." The Orient said that the intra-college races the preced- 
ing October had shown that successful races in "our own waters 
were possible, that they excited more interest than did those at Sara- 
toga and a much larger number of students received the benefits of 
training." 

Nevertheless, in 1882, Bowdoin joined Pennsylvania, Wesleyan, 
Princeton and Cornell in a Rowing Association. "The race [four- 
oared] was rowed at Lake George, July 4, 1882. Bowdoin rowed to 
the starting line at the appointed time and was obliged to wait over 
an hour in a drizzling rain for the other crews. When the word was 
finally given, Bowdoin went to the front and held the position for 
half a mile when she lost it by bad steering, and from that point, 
according to the associated press dispatch, guarded the last place 
to the close." The result of the race was a great surprise to every- 
body, for Bowdoin had made better practice time than any other 
crew on the lake. In December, 1882, delegates from Columbia, 
Cornell, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Rutgers, Wesleyan and Bowdoin 
met in New York City and formed the Intercollegiate Rowing Asso- 
ciation. On account of the serious illness of her stroke, Bowdoin 
was not represented at the next regatta, held at Lake George, July 
4, 1883. In 1884 the Bowdoin crew had an excellent prospect of 
winning when they were thrown out of the race by a passenger 



ATHLETICS 361 

steamer passing in front of them. "A little later Bowdoin got a 
grain of comfort from the fact that A. H. Brown, '84, had a walk- 
over in the single-scull race." In 1885 Bowdoin met Cornell, Brown 
and University of Pennsylvania. Bowdoin was fouled by Cornell 
and finished third with two inches of water in the boat. The referee 
ruled out Cornell and ordered another race between Bowdoin and 
Brown. Bowdoin won by four lengths, "rowing the one and one-half 
miles in eight minutes and twenty-four seconds, which at that time 
was the best intercollegiate record." 

In 1886 only Bowdoin and Pennsylvania met, and Bowdoin won, 
beating the last year's record by ten seconds. In 1887 there was a 
very close race between Bowdoin and Cornell, the latter winning by 
two and a half feet. This was the last four-oared intercollegiate 
regatta in which Bowdoin took part, for the next year both Cornell 
and Pennsylvania gave up fours for eights. In 1890 Bowdoin de- 
cided to follow their example. Bowdoin was beaten by Cornell. An 
Ithaca man said that the Bowdoin men "were nervous and ragged 
and spurted most of the time" and that they "were clearly outrowed 
and had not a ghost of a show." The Bowdoin men had been kept 
waiting a long time, the Cornell crew sending word that they could 
not leave their boathouse on account of rough water, and the Orient 
declared that Cornell was guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct and 
not for the first time. A race was also rowed with Boston Athletic 
Association, which Bowdoin won. This was the last race in which 
Bowdoin participated. The expense of an eight-oared crew was 
heavy, football and baseball made large demands, and the Boating 
Association decided to confine itself to encouraging class races. But 
the class crews went the way of the Varsity. Soon, instead of each 
class having a crew, the Sophomores and Freshmen raced on the 
morning of Field Day, but when new shells were needed the money 
could not be raised and the last class race was held in the spring of 
1894 when '96 beat '97. There was talk of further racing but noth- 
ing was done; and in 1898 the boathouse was sold to the Lewiston, 
Bath and Brunswick electric railroad, and was moved on the ice to 
Merrymeeting Park, where it was made into a bowling alley. 

Dr. Whittier closed his history of rowing at Bowdoin with the 



362 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

words, "Taken all in all, we may well be proud of Bowdoin's record 
at the oar. Boating has certainly gained the old college far more 
credit than any other branch of college sport and has made the 
name of the college familiar in many places where it would never 
otherwise be heard. Our victories have been honorable victories, and 
of our defeats it may be said that it were better to have rowed and 
lost than never to have rowed at all." 

Rowing has the honor of being the first of the chief athletic 
sports to come to Bowdoin, but baseball followed close upon it. In 
the late eighteen-fifties the old "round ball" was gradually giving 
way in New England to "baseball." In the fall of 1860 some stu- 
dents who had become acquainted with the new game during the sum- 
mer vacation, determined to introduce it into Bowdoin. It was re- 
ceived with great favor by all four classes, who quickly formed asso- 
ciations and teams. The Seniors led the way. They marked out a 
diamond on the Delta 6 and began to practice, the Juniors followed 
the good example, and on September 29, 1860, the two classes played 
the first game of baseball at Bowdoin of which there is any record ; 
the Juniors won by a score of 23 to 13. There was in Brunswick a 
baseball club which, as most of its members were regularly employed, 
played its games before breakfast and was therefore named the Sun- 
rise. Under such circumstances nothing could be more natural than 
a trial of skill between town and gown, and on October 10, 1860, 
the Senior nine crossed bats with the Sunrise at Topsham Fair 
grounds. 7 The teams were well matched, one was nearly as bad as 
the other, but the Sunrisers won, making 46 runs to the Seniors' 42. 
The victors behaved magnanimously, they had treated the college 
men very courteously during the game and at its close they pre- 
sented them with the ball. The bat used was a new one which had 
been made that morning by Mr. John Furbish, father of ex-Treas- 
urer Samuel B. Furbish. The eighteen players now wrote their 

6 The old athletic field is triangular in shape and the classical students of 
earlier days named it the Delta. 

7 There is a discrepancy in accounts of the game, concerning its exact date, but 
an article in the Orient of July 7, 1886, by "One of Sixty-One" is based on a con- 
temporary diary of the writer, and he says that "Early on the morning of the 10th 
we repaired to the Fair Grounds," etc. 



ATHLETICS 363 

names on it, 8 and it remained for some years a treasured possession 
of the Sunrise Club. It was then given to the Pejepscot Historical 
Society, and about 1919 was deposited with the college, which gave 
it a place of honor with the ball in the trophy room of the gym- 
nasium. 

In 1864 a college nine was formed; then there seems to have been 
a decrease in interest, but in 1866 the baseball club was reorganized 
and Bowdoin joined an association composed of various local clubs, 
some of which were famous in their day. The other members were 
the Crescents of Saccarappa, the Pine Trees of Kents Hill, the 
Androscoggins of Lewiston, the Cushnocs of Augusta, and the Ath- 
letics and the Eons of Portland. An annual tournament was held, 
the winning nine was regarded as the champion of Maine and re- 
ceived the temporary custody of a large silver ball which had been 
specially manufactured in Boston. Later the trophy was changed to 
a pennant, which in 1875 was won by Bowdoin, to the extreme joy 
of the students. 

Baseball came later at other Maine colleges than at Bowdoin, but 
in 1872 Bates and Bowdoin played, Bowdoin winning 25 to 19. In 
1876 Bowdoin began her long series of contests with Colby by de- 
feating her by a score of 30 to 8. No game was played with Maine 
until 1885. In that year there were two games, the score standing 
Bowdoin 8 and 10, Maine 7 and 6. A description of all of Bow- 
doin's intercollegiate games for the last fifty years would be tedious 
and would swell this history beyond reasonable limits. A list of the 
contests with the Maine colleges, and the scores, will be found in the 
appendix; here there is only room for an occasional comment, a 
notice of a few of the most interesting games, and a brief summary 
of results. 

There has been at times a laxity in training. The Bugle of 1878 
gave warning, by authority of the captain, that however able a man 
might be, he could not make the team unless he was willing to train 
in the winter and practice in the spring. In 1898 the Orient an- 
nounced that in the preceding year "The fellows smoked regularly 

8 The Bowdoin team consisted of Johnson, c, Emery, p., Loring, ss., Wiley, lb., 
Howe, 2b., Finger, 3b., Thurlow, If., Hicks, cf., Stubbs, rf. One of the Sunrisers 
was Ira P. Booker, in later years Assistant Treasurer and Treasurer of Bowdoin. 



364 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

and paid no attention to hours whatever," but that this year train- 
ing rules would be enforced. At times there was a lack of unity in 
the college, and in the team. The Bugle of 1888 said that in 1887 
"We lost the championship through internal dissensions, and the 
same cause bids fair to produce the same result this season. So long 
as personal considerations or society feelings are allowed to tri- 
umph over College loyalty, so long will our athletic interests pay the 
penalty." 

If Bowdoin men sometimes admitted that the college was to blame 
for its defeats, at other times they maintained that their opponents 
won through the partisanship of the umpire. On one such occasion 
the Bugle burst into poetry, stating that, 

The solemn fact was recognized 
By all our players then 
Nine men can never win a game 
When the other club has ten. 

There were also charges and counter-charges of hiring players. 

The Faculty has usually been very liberal in giving the teams 
leaves of absence, but its point of view is not always that of the stu- 
dents, and in 1897 there was a most serious disagreement over the 
baseball schedule. This schedule, as first arranged, called for twenty 
games within a period of about six weeks, necessitated several hun- 
dred miles of travel and provided for games in each of the six New 
England states. It seemed to the Faculty inconsistent with the atten- 
tion of the nine to their college studies and even detrimental to ath- 
letic interests themselves. The amount of time required for the trips 
was far in excess of that taken by any previous nine. The schedule 
was referred to the manager and to the Faculty members of the 
Athletic committee with suggestions that the number of games be 
cut to fifteen at least, that there should be but one prolonged ab- 
sence from Brunswick and that it should not exceed four days. 
There was much excitement among the undergraduates who held a 
college mass meeting and invited President Hyde to attend. Some 
of the students urged that arrangements had been made which it 
would be dishonorable to break, and finally the team was allowed to 
play nineteen games, of which fifteen were to be in Brunswick. 



ATHLETICS 365 

The Faculty exercised a wise restraint in other ways. In No- 
vember, 1898, they voted that there should be no ball game in 
Brunswick on Memorial Day, and in June, 1905, they advised that 
a proposed game after Commencement with a professional nine be 
not played. 

The games in the eighteen-sixties and seventies are remarkable be- 
cause of their large scores. In the present century the scores have 
often been very small, and on some occasions the regular nine in- 
nings have not been sufficient to give the victory to either side. In 
1902 Bowdoin played a ten inning game with Dartmouth, the score, 
however, was fairly large, being 8 to 7 in favor of Bowdoin. Bow- 
doin might have said of her opponent, as did De Montfort at 
Evesham, " 'twas from me that he learnt it," for baseball was first 
introduced at Dartmouth by a Bowdoin student of the class of '69 
who transferred to the New Hampshire college. The season of 1903 
saw a great triangular battle of pitchers, the champions being Cox 
of Bowdoin, Mitchell of Maine, and Vail of Colby. In one of the 
games with Colby neither side scored until the last inning and no 
Bowdoin man reached first base. In the ninth inning Bowdoin made 
three runs and won. The Orient said of the game : "About this time 
rumors came down from Waterville of the p[h]enomenal prowess of 
Mr. Robert Vail, the great 'King Bob.' Bowdoin went to Water- 
ville and Colby played her King. A right good King he was, too, but 
Bowdoin had the Ace." Maine also proved a dangerous rival, but 
the season closed with Bowdoin the victor. In 1910 Bowdoin and 
Colby played a seventeen inning game. In the sixteenth inning 
Hobbs, the Bowdoin pitcher, was injured, he weakened and Colby 
won the game. 

On the Ivy Day of 1912 Bowdoin played the longest baseball 
game in its history, defeating Bates by a score of 4 to 1 in an eight- 
een inning game. Of this battle the Orient said: "Captain Means 
ended his brilliant pitching career by the best exhibition of en- 
durance, grit, and pitching ability ever seen on Whittier Field, 
and every man on the Bowdoin team played wonderful baseball. In 
the eleventh inning Bates brought in a run, and things looked bad for 
the White, until Neal Tuttle, appearing for the first time in a Bow- 



366 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

doin uniform, tied the score with a home run hit. The game was 
brought to a sensational close in the eighteenth inning when Weath- 
erill scored Brooks on a beautiful two bagger. Means had seventeen 
strike outs to his credit and allowed nine hits while Stinson of Bates 
struck out ten men and was hit safely eleven times. Joy and Brooks, 
who, like Captain Means, were playing their last game for Bowdoin, 
also distinguished themselves in this contest, the former having 
twenty-seven put outs at first, and the latter catching a wonderful 
game and refusing to leave the field though badly injured three 
times." 

The longest game played with an out-of-state college was a thir- 
teen inning one with Trinity in 1915. It was largely a pitchers' 
battle, and Trinity won by a score of 1 to ; the Bowdoin defeat is 
said to have been due to a wild pitch. 

Bowdoin's banner year in baseball was 1921. At home it defeated 
each Maine college twice; out of the state it not only won from 
Wesleyan and Amherst but defeated Princeton, 4-3, and Harvard, 
4-1. The next year was less successful, but Bowdoin tied Maine for 
the state championship, beat Pennsylvania, 6-2, and Columbia, 10-6. 
Princeton, however, got revenge with a 7-1 score and Bowdoin was 
also beaten by New York State. 

When baseball was first introduced at Bowdoin it is probable 
that over half the college played. For many years each class had a 
nine, and for a time each fraternity; the local hazing society, Phi 
Chi, and even the Faculty had teams, at least in the Bugle. But 
with the development of track and football, and with baseball itself 
becoming a more highly specialized game, these nines disappeared. 
An attempt has been made in the last twenty years to revive some of 
them, but with only partial success, they have been born, died and 
been born again. Among the objections to them were that they pre- 
vented men from trying for the Varsity, that they caused feeling be- 
tween the fraternities, and that the practice of "ragging" from the 
grandstand, harmless enough in these games, was apt to be carried 
over into intercollegiate contests. 

Today there is a Sophomore-Freshman game and a successful 
inter-fraternity league. The old evils of intra-college baseball have 



ATHLETICS 367 

nearly disappeared and the fraternity games are helpful in carrying 
out the new policy of athletics for all. 

Field and track contests began at Bowdoin in a very modest way. 
On October 30, 1868, a "tournament" was held at the Topsham fair 
grounds for the championship of the college. The events were a 
two hundred and twenty yard dash, a mile run and a mile and a half 
walk. The next fall there was a more elaborate tournament of eight 
events. For a few years meets were sometimes held in both the fall 
and the spring, but in 1876 the fall meet was discontinued. The 
Orient explained that the attention of the students during the open- 
ing fortnight of the year was taken up by other matters than pre- 
paring for a field day, that only three or four weeks then remained 
before the weather became too cold for an outdoor contest and that 
a fall field day could be little more than an impromptu affair at the 
best. Several colleges had abandoned fall meets for this reason, and 
the Orient approved of Bowdoin's action. The next year, however, 
the paper took a different view. It said, "Of the three associations 
sustained by the students [boating, baseball and track] this [track] 
is best calculated to promote health and manly vigor, and we believe 
that there is a good deal of surplus vitality in college that might be 
profitably worked off in this direction." 

An attempt was made to excite interest in the contests by freak 
events, and for a number of years the meets usually included one or 
more of the following races, potato, wheelbarrow, sack, knapsack, 
hop-skip-and-jump, and three-legged. These were for the benefit of 
the spectators. The contestants were lured by prizes, usually made 
of silver. To the winning class-team was presented a jug of cider. 
On one occasion this resulted disastrously. It was the custom to 
choose the President of the Y.M.C.A. from the incoming Senior 
class. The class of '80, which appears to have been an impious crew, 
had only one man in that worthy organization. A believer in mus- 
cular Christianity, he was also a member of the winning track team. 
Someone "doctored" the cider, the team celebrated, the Y.M.C.A. 
man behaved as no Y.M.C.A. man should, and lost the presidency. 
However, he was a "good sport" and declared that he had rather 
have had his fun with his class than hold any college honor. 



368 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

In 1895 the Maine Intercollegiate field and track contests began 
and soon took the place of the Bowdoin field day, but in 1902 class 
contests were for a while resumed and now the Sophomores and 
Freshmen have a meet in the fall. 

Bowdoin has been remarkably successful in the state meets. It 
has won more championships than all the other colleges combined 
and has to its credit an unbroken series of victories from 1919 to 
1927, both inclusive. 

In 1887 Bowdoin sent a team to the New England Intercollegiate 
meet. The score was then expressed in prizes, and of these Bowdoin 
secured one, the second place in the pole vault being won by Lory 
Prentiss of '89, later Physical Director in the Lawrenceville School. 
His jump was 9 ft. 2% inches. In 1911 the Athletic Council rec- 
ognized the feat of Bowdoin's pioneer victor by voting him a "B." 
Bowdoin did not again compete in a New England meet until 1893 
when it failed to win a single point. But in 1894 Soule of '95 won 
the two-mile run, bringing five points to the college, and Borden, a 
Medic, won one point in the running high jump. From this time 
there was an almost steady gain. In 1896 Bowdoin won fourth 
place, in 1897 third and in 1899 the college won twenty-three points 
and the meet. 

The contest was most dramatic. It was uncertain till the end 
and in part turned on the question when the end came. The last 
event was the pole vault. Walter B. Clarke of Bowdoin and a Wil- 
liams man were tied for second place. If the points were divided 
Williams would win the meet by one point, if the vaulting was con- 
tinued and Bowdoin won it, then the Maine college would win first 
honors by a single point. The vault was jumped off, Williams pro- 
testing, and Bowdoin won. 

The Lewiston Sun thus described what happened when the won- 
drous tale was telegraphed to Brunswick: "To say Bowdoin was 
overjoyed by her unexpected but well earned victory is to put it 
mildly, very mildly indeed. The news was received at 8.15 Saturday 
night, and after the first incredulous feeling such a wave of excite- 
ment struck the town as has never before been seen. The chapel 
bell was rung, a bonfire was hastily collected and lighted, which, 



ATHLETICS 369 

however, was one of the largest ever seen here. The band was hastily 
collected and the impromptu collection of rejoicing students paraded 
and listened to bright speeches by faculty and undergraduates until 
1 o'clock in the morning." Godfrey of '99 was the first of the vic- 
tors to reach Brunswick, he was carried in triumph to the chapel 
steps (no easy task, he stood six feet four inches high and weighed 
two hundred pounds) and a speech demanded. He named each man 
and each received a three times three. He also spoke of the sports- 
manlike way in which the Bowdoin men had been treated, particu- 
larly by Dartmouth and Williams, and these colleges were likewise 
given the triple cheers. 

Such success against colleges larger and wealthier than Bowdoin 
must be exceptional, but Bowdoin has since won two first and three 
seconds in the New England Meet. Bowdoin has also produced men 
with remarkable records. In 1899 Cloudman of 1901 won the 
hundred yard dash in the Maine Meet in 9j4 seconds, making a 
record for the United States and equalling the world's amateur rec- 
ord. In 1900 he broke the New England records for the 220 yard 
run and the broad jump. Frederick B. Tootel, '23, after distinguish- 
ing himself greatly, while in college, in throwing the thirty pound 
weight and the sixteen pound hammer, won the hammer championship 
at the Olympic games of 1924 with a hammer throw of 174 feet and 
7 inches. 

Football, so long considered the chief sport at Bowdoin, at first 
made its way slowly and humbly. In 1869 the Sophomores and 
Freshmen played the first game. 9 The "teams" were the members 
of the two classes and the rules were similar to those of the English 
kicking game. A precedent was thus established which was followed 
for nearly thirty years. In the late eighties the Seniors and Juniors 
began to take a hand, the contest gradually degenerated into a farce 
and in 1898 it was abandoned. But during the eighties football of 
this type was a popular game at Bowdoin. Almost every after- 
noon during the fall term a few enthusiasts would congregate on the 
campus, kick a football about and yell "football" until enough of a 

9 An account of this game by one of the participants, Dr. D. A. Robinson, may 
be found in the Orient of 1925. 



370 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

crowd collected to warrant "choosing up." Then two captains 
would be nominated from the floor, the choosing up would be duly 
performed, and the game would begin. 

The Orient usually gave football a strong support. It assured 
the friends of baseball that the "national game" could never be sup- 
planted by minor sports like la crosse and football and ventured the 
assertion, "There is no reason why a good, well conducted game of 
football should not be as interesting as any other athletic sport." 
An attempt to introduce the more elaborate Rugby game was made 
in 1882 and renewed in 1884. In that year an association was formed 
with Frank N. Whittier as President and William W. Kilgore as 
Vice President. The Orient kindly assured the students, not their 
grandmothers, that "The blood-thirsty accounts of the last foot- 
ball fight between Yale and Princeton should not alarm our novices, 
as this is a highly evolved form of the game which we cannot hope to 
reach for some years." But despite this encouragement little was 
done. In 1888 Rice of '89 and Sears of '90, both of whom had 
played football before entering Bowdoin, got the students to take up 
Rugby 10 once more. There were no outside games, but the Orient 
noted that "Foot-ball has gained greatly in popularity this term 
and if we may judge from the number of invalids and cripples among 
us we should say that very satisfactory progress has been made in 
the knowledge of the game." On October 12, 1889, Bowdoin began 
her contests with outside football teams by playing Tufts at Port- 
land. Tufts won by a score of 8 to 4, making her two touchdowns 
in the first ten minutes of the game. 

"Bowdoin's second game of foot-ball, the first ever seen in Bruns- 
wick, was played with the Boston Latin School eleven on the college 
Delta, November 2d. The home team won an easy victory, the Latin 
School boys being unable to do anything with our heavy rush line." 11 
The score was 44 to 0. "On the following Saturday Bowdoin and 
Bates met on the delta, in the first game of foot-ball ever played be- 
tween two Maine college teams. The Bates backs played with snap 

10 The term "Rugby" has been used to differentiate the new game from the old, 
but it is "American Rugby," not in all respects like the English. 

11 This and several of the following quotations are taken from Dr. Whittier's 
account of football at Bowdoin. 



ATHLETICS 371 

and dash, but could do nothing with our heavy rush line." Bowdoin 
won by a score of 62 to 0. "On the whole the friends of foot ball 
were greatly encouraged by the results of the season's work. Great 
credit is due to G. B. Sears of '90, who captained and managed the 
team, and was active in rousing enthusiasm for the game. To Mr. 
Sears, more than to any one else, belongs the title of 'Father of 
Football at Bowdoin.' " 

In the following year Bowdoin entered a league whose other mem- 
bers were Amherst, Dartmouth, Massachusetts Institute of Tech- 
nology and Williams. "The first championship game was at Han- 
over, with Dartmouth, November 1st. The result was a great dis- 
appointment to Bowdoin supporters, Bowdoin being defeated by a 
score of 42 to 0. The secret of our defeat lay in that Bowdoin could 
not stop Dartmouth's round the end runs while Bowdoin plays were 
often stopped behind the line by the Dartmouth tackles breaking 
through — The second championship game was with Williams, and 
was played in Brunswick, November 5, Bowdoin was defeated by a 
score of 50 to 0. The story of the game is that of the Dartmouth 
game over again. Williams, however, gained ground through the 
line, and by a criss-cross, as well as by round-the-end plays. The 
game was marred by much slugging and rough playing. 

"The league games with Amherst and M. I. T. were not played. 
Our team was so badly crippled after the Williams game that it was 
thought best to forfeit the game with Amherst. 

"Technology whose experience in the league was a duplicate of 
our own forfeited to us." 

We also played our first game with Harvard this year. The score 
was Harvard 54, Bowdoin 0. "The Boston papers called our play- 
ers 'giants' but said the lack of blocking and clean tackling was 
painful." 

"For the season of 1891, E. B. Young was chosen manager and 
R. F. Bartlett, captain. The prospect for foot-ball was not bright. 
At a meeting of the Intercollegiate Association, Bowdoin had been 
dropped from the league. Only two men were left in college who had 
played regularly the year before. The former management had left 
the association deeply in debt, and the foot-ball interest in college 



372 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

was so dead that it was only by the greatest exertions that Captain 
Bartlett could get men enough upon the field to form two elevens." 
Nevertheless, reasonably good work was done, men were trained for 
the next year, and the debt was paid off. On October 15, 1892, 
Bowdoin played her first game with Colby, winning by a score of 
56 to 0. On Friday, November 11, Bowdoin defeated Brown's 
strong eleven at Providence by a score of 8 to 0. Carleton and Fair- 
banks made the touchdowns. Bowdoin played her best game for the 
season, a game that probably would have defeated any New England 
college that year, barring Harvard and Yale. In the spring of 
1895 Dr. Whittier wrote of Bowdoin football, "We have had good 
elevens the last two years, but we need harder work and more careful 
training to bring our teams up to a standard. In base-ball and track 
athletics, Bowdoin will always be handicapped in competing with 
other New England colleges, by the shortness of our Maine season; 
but in foot-ball we have no such disadvantage, and there is no reason 
why Bowdoin should not take the same stand in foot-ball that she 
formerly took in boating. But to do this, individual, class, and so- 
ciety interests must be set aside, and all work with a will to give the 
whole a place of which every Bowdoin alumnus must be proud." 

Thirty years have passed since these words were written, Bowdoin 
has kept up football, with alternations of victory and defeat, but her 
small size, due largely to her standards of scholarship, and the need 
of expensive coaching have prevented her from taking an outstand- 
ing position. 

In 1893 Bowdoin played her first game with Maine, winning by a 
score of 12 to 10. In 1897 Bowdoin for the first time lost a game 
with a Maine college, Bates defeating her by a score of 10 to 6. In 
1900 Bowdoin defeated Amherst and Tufts, and played Yale and 
Harvard. The Orient called the season the most satisfactory one in 
Bowdoin's history. Massachusetts critics ranked the team fourth in 
New England, only Yale, Harvard and Brown being given a superior 
position. The class of 1878 presented the team with sweaters and 
in the following February the Boston alumni invited the members 
to attend the annual banquet as their guests and sent a check for 
travelling expenses. In 1903 Bowdoin was beaten by Amherst 23 



ATHLETICS 373 

to 0, but she won honor in defeat. The Orient said : "The score does 
not tell the story by any means, of how the light team from Bowdoin 
held Amherst's heavy line for downs on the one yard line, of the bril- 
liant, desperate playing of Captain Beane, or of the wonderful fight 
of the crippled Bowdoin backs." There was a similar and more suc- 
cessful display of resolution in a game with Bates, the last of the 
season. "The game was nearly over, the score five to five, Bates had 
the ball on Bowdoin's twenty- two line, with eight yards to gain. 
Bowdoin braced and held like a stone wall, taking the ball on downs. 
Never was such a fierce attack as the Brunswick team made now. In 
six rushes thirty-nine yards were gained. Kinsman was given the 
ball, Finn and Fernald opened a good hole, and Kinsman was off like 
a shot, running through and over his opponents at race horse speed, 
winning a touchdown and the game." In 1909 Bowdoin beat Tufts 
6 to 0. Tufts reached the Bowdoin five yard line, but could not fight 
her way across the final strip. In 1910 Bowdoin took revenge on 
Amherst, Captain Smith making the only score of the game by kick- 
ing a field goal. In 1913 Bowdoin played a nothing to nothing game 
against Wesleyan, showing special skill in meeting Wesleyan's for- 
ward pass. In 1915 Bowdoin was beaten by Amherst on account of 
what the Orient described as the wretched tackling of the whole team, 
and the remarkable running of Rucker of Amherst. The same year 
Bowdoin was beaten by Colby 54 to 6, the defeat being partly due to 
the remarkable ability of one of the Colby players, Cawley. In 1916 
Amherst lost to Bowdoin; her captain, Goodrich, repeatedly broke 
away for long runs, but his gains were more than balanced by Bow- 
doin's line bucking. Of the season the Orient said : "Coach Weather- 
head inspired the team with the one thing that had so long been lack- 
ing — fight — and supplemented this with a thorough and careful 
teaching of the game. Captain Shumway made a most excellent 
leader for the team. Trainer Magee played no small part in keep- 
ing the men in as good physical condition as he possibly could." 

Since the war Bowdoin's record in football has on the whole been 
disappointing to her alumni, although some creditable victories have 
been won. 

Rowing, baseball, track and football have been the chief sports 



374 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

at Bowdoin, but other games have been played from time to time 
and some of them have received official recognition, first as minor and 
then as major sports. In the eighteen-fifties cricket was played 
and in the eighteen-seventies lacrosse. In 1884 bicycling was pop- 
ular and seems to have been regarded as a sport. But the first 
minor sport to be authoritatively recognized was tennis, originally 
lawn tennis and played on grass courts. In 1882 a tennis set ap- 
peared at Bowdoin and there were a few players. Next year 
there was a great increase in interest. The college, itself, laid out 
ten courts and they were in constant use. The Orient said, "The 
present interest in lawn tennis will doubtless account for the inactiv- 
ity manifested in other directions. That this game promotes health 
and is in every way free from objectionable features, is attested by 
many eminent physicians. As the play requires quickness of move- 
ment, a sharp eye and a good disposition it is well adapted to benefit 
all that engage in it." In 1884 an association was formed for pre- 
paring clay courts. 

In 1883 the long series of interfraternity tournaments was begun. 
The Psi Us and Dekes won the singles and the Dekes the doubles. 
A match was arranged with Colby. The doubles were played in 
Brunswick, the singles in Brunswick and Waterville. Bowdoin won 
the doubles and Colby the singles. In 1892 the Maine colleges 
formed a tennis association. But at Bowdoin, after the first en- 
thusiasm, there came a serious decrease in interest ; the very exist- 
ence of the sport was threatened. In 1898 there was so little re- 
gard for the interfraternity tournament that it was not played out. 
In 1902 the tennis account showed a deficit of eighty dollars. The 
Athletic Council paid the debt under protest, but it was announced 
that this action would not be a precedent, that hereafter the man- 
ager must get a better subscription list or that the college must 
give up tennis. But next year Bowdoin won the championship in 
doubles in the New England College tournament. The sport main- 
tained itself and now it receives a moderate grant from the general 
athletic fund. 

Another game which made its way slowly at Bowdoin and only 
triumphed after a marked failure of interest is hockey. In the 



ATHLETICS 375 

winter of 1906-1907 a game, to be played at Brunswick, was ar- 
ranged with an Augusta team, but the condition of the field caused 
it to be cancelled. In February, 1907, a Bowdoin team went to 
Concord, New Hampshire, and was defeated by St. Paul's School, 
11 to 0. The Athletic Council permitted two games with the Uni- 
versity of Maine, but the vote stipulated that it should be considered 
as only authorizing a temporary arrangement. The first game was 
at Brunswick and Bowdoin won 4 to 1. The return game at Orono 
was close and hard fought. At the end of the first period, of ten 
minutes, the score was 1 to 1, at the close of the second period, of 
twenty-five minutes, the score was the same, but in the third period 
Maine made two goals and won the game. During the contest a 
Bowdoin man was injured, but Maine withdrew his opponent so that 
the game might continue. Next year hockey was dropped at Bow- 
doin, the students preferring to take their ice exercise by skating on 
the river, and the game was not revived until the winter of 1915- 
1916. In December, 1915, the Athletic Council authorized the 
preparation in the depression near the library of a rink of 100 feet 
by 60 feet, provided that the students showed sufficient interest ; 
but it expressly voted that hockey should not be considered a varsity 
sport. There was severe criticism of even this limited permission. 
The Orient opposed it as did Track Coach Magee who declared that 
it would injure track, that it would develop muscles not important 
for track to the neglect of those which were. Nevertheless the rink 
was built but the game was soon transferred to a new one on the 
old athletic field. Hockey maintained its position and in 1925 had 
the honor of being declared a major sport. 

Good work has been done in relay at the Boston Athletic meets. 
A fencing team has been maintained for twenty years though the 
sport has not called forth great enthusiasm or received large sub- 
ventions. 

In the maintenance of two sports, golf and outing, the students 
and the citizens of Brunswick have acted together. In 1898 some 
students formed a golf club to which townspeople were admitted; 
the immigrants soon outnumbered the aborigines and the name of the 



376 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

club was changed to that of The Brunswick Golf Club. But college 
men still had a right to use the links. 

Recently, however, student interest in golf has been revived. 
Largely through the efforts of Mr. Fasso of the class of 1925 a col- 
lege club was formed. In 1924 the Psi Upsilon Fraternity presented 
the club with a prize cup to be known as the Alfred Levenseller Wood 
cup in memory of a Freshman brother who had died a few months 
before and who had been much interested in golf. 

Another recently established sport is outing. An Outing Club 
was organized in 1922, chiefly through the efforts of one of the 
Seniors, Karl Philbrick. The club has a cabin in the woods for 
headquarters and with the cooperation of the townspeople main- 
tains a ski jump in winter on the Mall. In 1923 the outing team 
was recognized by the Athletic Council and in 1924 the Faculty 
gave the same privileges to outing that it did to hockey. 

The last athletic diversions to become popular at Bowdoin are 
riding and polo. A good string of horses is now available and is 
much used by the wealthier students. 

One intercollegiate sport has been formally condemned. Cross- 
country, after ten years of honorable recognition, was dropped from 
the list of Bowdoin's contests. The Athletic Council, with the 
full approval of Coach Magee, declared that these long runs tended 
to produce heart strain and ordered them discontinued. 

The critics of intercollegiate athletics may say, and not wholly 
without reason, that the different sports, and especially football, 
have been in large measure battles of those highly paid specialists, 
the coaches, and therefore of pocketbooks. At Bowdoin the de- 
velopment of professional coaching has been gradual but almost 
irresistible. As noted above, Bowdoin's first football coach, Mr. 
H. C. Crocker of Amherst, was hired for the season of 1892. Then 
for two years the coaching was done by several recent Bowdoin 
graduates who served chiefly for love. In 1895 W. C. Mackie, an 
alumnus of Harvard who had played against Bowdoin in 1889 on 
the Boston Latin School team, and Mr. Hoag of the Boston Ath- 
letic Association, served together as coaches. In 1896 Hoag acted 
alone. In 1897 a Harvard graduate was engaged as coach. He 



ATHLETICS 377 

knew the game but trained the men rather severely and was perhaps 
a little neglectful of the second eleven. The team on its side showed 
a lack of zeal and early in the season the captain resigned. The 
reason given was pressure of other work, but it was believed that 
lack of support by the team was the main cause. Some weeks later 
the coach followed the captain's example and the team finished the 
season under the instruction of two young alumni. In the following 
year the experiment was tried of employing three coaches, two of 
them for only a part of the season. Good work was done, the team 
scoring on Harvard, but the Orient demanded that Bowdoin engage 
not merely a good coach but the best one obtainable. J. B. Cro- 
lius, who had been captain of Dartmouth the preceding year, was 
appointed with good results. He was followed in 1900 by Locke, 
Brown '97, who had coached Tufts the previous year. The Orient 
said of him, "Mr. Locke has been the most satisfactory coach to the 
college that Bowdoin has ever had. Every man in college that has 
any ambition in foot-ball whatever has been given an opportunity 
to show what he could do. The positions on the team have been 
filled by the best men. Mr. Locke is a perfect gentleman on the field 
and his coaching has been free from the disagreeable scenes that 
have sometimes occurred." In 1901 a former coach came back for 
a short time and was succeeded by several Bowdoin alumni. The 
season ended with Bowdoin beaten by every Maine college. The 
Orient gave as one reason for the catastrophe, failure of the men to 
turn out, but added, "Even if a large squad is ready next year, it 
will be useless unless a competent coach stays with the men right 
through the season. One poor coach is better than ten good ones 
at different times. What would we think of a course in language in 
which the instructors were changed three or four times. It is just 
the same with football. Each coach has his special system of plays, 
his own theories of training and working. There is money enough 
to insure the engagement of the best coaching ability in the country 
so let us have it." The demand for a continued service was followed 
and for the first time at Bowdoin a football coach, John O'Connor 
of Dartmouth, served with full authority through two successive 
seasons, and did well. 



378 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

In 1904 Ross McClave of Princeton was coach and in 1905 Barry 
of Brown. Mr. Barry was given several assistants and had some 
help from McClave who came to Brunswick for ten days. At the 
close of the season the Orient said that the change to the Brown 
method was thought to be a mistake, that the Princeton system 
would probably be adopted the next year and that the undergrad- 
uates hoped that the one chosen would be continued for some time. 
There was a call not only for a permanent system but for a Bowdoin 
system and for a Bowdoin man as head-coach. The Orient said that 
in earlier days football was more advanced at other colleges than at 
Bowdoin and that an outside coach was therefore necessary, but 
that this was no longer the case. The Orient also pointed out that 
there was a probability of a radical change in the football rules and 
that all the colleges would then be compelled to develop new theories 
and styles and that the moment was therefore an opportune one for 
Bowdoin to strike out for itself. The Orient said that the head- 
coach should be assisted by others to train players for special posi- 
tions and that the sum, eleven hundred dollars, paid the past year to 
the out-of-state coach would be sufficient to defray the salaries of all 
these men. 

Mr. Charles T. Hawes of the class of '76, a member of the Board 
of Overseers, who has taken a special interest in Bowdoin athletics, 
wrote to the Orient urging the adoption of a Bowdoin system of 
football. He said that when an out-of-state coach was engaged 
the manager must be guided by recommendations which were not 
always reliable, that a good player was not necessarily a good teach- 
er of the game, and that although it might be earnestly desired to 
adhere to one system, the college which had developed this system 
might in a given year have no coach available for Bowdoin. 

In 1906 Bowdoin again tried alumni coaching. A 1901 man 
was made coach and another alumnus assisted him. The early part 
of the season was disappointing, the latter part very successful. The 
friends of a Bowdoin system alleged that it had not had a fair trial, 
that there should have been more than two graduate coaches, but in 
1907 there was a return to the old custom of employing out-of-state 
coaches. McClave of Princeton was once more engaged and was 



ATHLETICS 379 

continued for 1908. His quiet and courteous ways combined with 
a thorough knowledge of the game, made him very popular with the 
students. At the close of his service the Orient said, "Coach Mc- 
Clave gave his best endeavors to produce a winning team. To lose 
but one game in a championship series for three seasons is an envi- 
able record. Ross will be sorely missed next season, both by foot- 
ball men and by the college at large. He was an athlete, a gentle- 
man and a scholar." McClave was fortunate in having an efficient 
ally who kept the team in good condition. The same editorial which 
highly and justly praised McClave added, "No comment need be 
made on the efficient work of Trainer Nickerson. 'Nick' was always 
on deck to look after the men and to whisper a word of encourage- 
ment between the halves." 

The year 1907 was marked by the introduction of secret practice. 
This forbidding Bowdoin men to watch their own team seems to 
have caused dissatisfaction and McClave explained the matter to a 
student mass-meeting. He said that he made the change to obtain 
an opportunity to try out new men without their being mortified by 
a crowd watching their awkwardness and that he also wished to keep 
a few plays unknown. He stated that probably the secrecy would 
not be maintained for more than a week. 

In 1909 Wallace C. Philoon, a former Bowdoin captain and star 
player, who had just graduated from West Point, and McClave 
each gave some time to coaching the team. For the next three 
years, Frank S. Bergen, a Princeton graduate of the class of 1910, 
served as coach. By 1912 some dissatisfaction with the Princeton 
system had developed, the treasury had been seriously depleted and 
the experiment was tried of engaging for 1913 and then for 1914* a 
popular and successful coach of a Maine high school. The result 
was a disappointment. The team met with mortifying defeats and 
there was much dissatisfaction among the alumni. Probably, how- 
ever, no coach could have turned out a first-class eleven. Many of 
the best players had just been lost by graduation, and the team was 
an unusually light one. Still it is doubtful if the experiment would 
have been a success in any case. College men are often best directed 



380 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

by college graduates and a more minute knowledge of the game is 
required for college than for high school coaching. 

In 1915, after nearly three months' consideration and search, 
Thomas J. Campbell of Harvard was appointed coach at what was 
then considered a large salary. In accordance with the wishes both 
of graduates and undergraduates a man trained under the Haughten 
system had been chosen and when, the next year, Mr. Campbell went 
to the University of North Carolina as Director of Athletics at a 
salary such as Bowdoin could not possibly offer, another "Haugh- 
ten man," Albert Weatherill, took his place. For 1917 Mr. Day, 
also a graduate of Harvard, was chosen as his successor, but on ac- 
count of the war Bowdoin agreed with Bates and Colby to employ 
no regular coach. Mr. Day, however, spent a fortnight's furlough 
at Brunswick and during that time coached the team without charge. 
In 1918 there was no Bowdoin team, although the Reserve Officers 
Training Corps furnished a team which was chiefly composed of 
Bowdoin men. 

In 1919 Major Greene of Lewiston who had coached both Bates 
and Colby was engaged by Bowdoin and served for two years. At 
the end of the second year West Point gave Bowdoin the most 
crushing defeat in its athletic history. There came a loud demand 
for a new coach and Fred C. Ostergren, a former Holy Cross man 
who had been picked for the All-America team and who was then 
coaching the Portland High School, was urged for the place. But 
Major Greene's friends, and they were many, stood by him staunch- 
ly. They maintained that he was an excellent coach and that the 
defeats were not his fault. The team declared itself in his favor by 
a vote of two to one. Beyond the gates the battle was fierce and 
became somewhat of a local issue. The Lewiston and Portland 
papers made themselves counsel in the great case of Greene vs. Oster- 
gren, each championing the cause of its townsman. But the Ath- 
letic Council, which had the final word, decided in favor of Mr. Oster- 
gren. He was engaged for one season at Major Greene's old salary 
of eighteen hundred dollars, and at the close of his term he was re- 
engaged for three seasons at a salary of four thousand dollars a 
season. But he failed to turn out winning teams and was attacked 



ATHLETICS 381 

and defended as Major Greene had been. The death of Dr. Whit- 
tier gave an opportunity for merging the offices of coach and gym- 
nasium director and Mr. John M. Cates was appointed Director of 
Athletics and football coach. He received a salary of two thousand 
dollars in each capacity, the former is paid by the college, the latter 
by the Athletic Council. 

The death of Dr. Whittier was followed by a reorganization of 
the Department of Physical Training. Mr. John M. Cates of Yale 
was made Director of Athletics and football coach and he was assist- 
ed in the former capacity by Roland H. Cobb, '17, and in the latter 
by Malcolm E. Morrell, '24. Formal exercises in the gymnasium 
were largely replaced by outdoor and indoor sports, which began 
earlier and continued later than the old "gym work." Every effort 
was made to develop intra-mural contests, the Fraternities being 
taken as units, and to give the benefit of exercise to the largest 
possible number of students. Letter men are now excluded from this 
competition. The Sargent system of examinations was discontinued 
and each student is examined in the ordinary way by two or three 
physicians, special knowledge being thus made available. Men who 
are found defective are given corrective exercises. 

In 1927 Bowdoin released Mr. Cates that he might accept a call to 
Yale. Mr. Morrell was made provisional director and football coach 
and Mr. Cobb was given entire charge of intra-mural sports. Mr. 
Cates did much to develop a policy of athletics for all, he was a 
gentleman and did not think athletics more important than scholar- 
ship. All this was well, but the will to succeed, so it be done fairly, 
does honor to any man and Dr. Whittier has shown us that scholar- 
ship, virtue and the fighting edge are not incompatible. 

Non-alumni coaching for track and baseball was introduced at 
Bowdoin a little later than it was for football. Unlike football, 
these sports were professional as well as amateur and often the 
coaches were not college men. The first track coach was William 
F. Garcelon, a famous Harvard hurdler, who came in 1896 and 
served for three years. In 1899 a Yale man was engaged but he 
and the team did not get on well together and he soon resigned. 
The manager went to Boston to ask advice of Mr. John Graham, 



382 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

one of the best track coaches in the country. To the delight of the 
manager Mr. Graham said that he might be willing to come down 
himself for a few weeks, an agreement was reached and Mr. Graham 
sent a winning team to Worcester. He also served the next year 
and was succeeded by James G. Lathrop. Like Mr. Graham, Mr. 
Lathrop had an excellent record. He had coached Harvard teams 
for sixteen years and had recently studied foreign methods. He 
served at Bowdoin for five years and was engaged for the sixth but 
resigned to accept an invitation from Harvard. 

The next two years there were two coaches, but in 1908 Burton 
("Bert") C. Morrill was appointed and served four years. He also 
took a course in the Medical School and his relations with the stu- 
dents were close and pleasant. After he left there was again a two- 
year period with a different coach each year and then Bowdoin en- 
gaged Mr. John ("Jack") J. Magee who, with one break during the 
war, has served till the present time. Mr. Magee has been an un- 
usually successful coach. Although the other Maine colleges have 
greatly improved in field and track, during the years of his guidance 
Bowdoin has won the state championship eight times in succession. 
He does not sacrifice everything to winning in a single year with 
the result that a champion team one year becomes a tail-ender 
the next, but provides for competent successors. Every man who 
wishes to try out is sure of welcome and attention. The coveted B 
has sometimes been awarded for constant, helpful effort rather than 
success. The squad is large and the Magee policy by itself is an 
approach to athletics for all. 

The first baseball coach was F. E. Steere, Brown '94, who had 
been playing in the New Bedford League. He came in 1896 and 
served for three years, then for four years the coach or coaches 
changed each year. The coach in 1901 was a Bowdoin man, Hull, 
'97, who did loyal, efficient work. In 1903 Bowdoin engaged Mr. 
John Irwin, a professional player, who served six years and gave 
great satisfaction. Then there was a period of frequent change 
lasting until 1916 when Benjamin (Ben) Houser was elected. Mr. 
Houser had played on the Boston Nationals and the Philadelphia 
Americans ; he had then coached professional and college teams. 



ATHLETICS 383 

In 1915 he coached Colby. Since 1916 he has remained at Bowdoin 
doing excellent work with the baseball team and acting also as 
hockey coach. 

Professional coaches are not only very expensive but at times they 
exercise an unfortunate influence on the youth under their charge. 
They are apt to encourage the feeling that the chief end of the col- 
lege is to defeat its special rival, and that the true college hero is 
the great athlete. Moreover, the coaches sometimes set a bad ex- 
ample by their personal habits, even against their own wishes. It 
is said of one coach that he regularly began his training by telling 
his pupils, "I am here to teach you football, if you imitate me in 
other respects I'll knock your heads off." There has been a strong 
desire among college Faculties to modify the coaching system by 
making all coaches members of the Faculty. It was thought that 
the interruption of athletics by the World War gave an opportunity 
for the change, but in Maine, at least, the time was not yet ripe. 

A student athletic conference was held and the Orient reported 
that "the representatives were unanimous in their condemnation of 
a policy of faculty coaching, which has been favored by the faculties 
of all the colleges, and decided to resume the former method of hiring 
seasonal coaches." But the changes so strongly objected to have 
now been partially adopted at Bowdoin. The head coaches of foot- 
ball, baseball and track serve throughout the year, the track coach 
is paid by the college and the football coach is a member of the 
Faculty by virtue of his position as Director of Athletics. 

If a well-equipped gymnasium is needed for the older formal ex- 
ercises a specially prepared athletic field is necessary for the better 
exercise of out-door sports, especially when they take the form of 
intercollegiate contests. Bowdoin's first athletic field was the 
"Delta," a triangular piece of land on the edge of the college 
grounds set aside by the authorities for student ball playing. In 
1860 the undergraduates respectfully petitioned that some of the 
trees be removed. They also said that most of the students played 
ball, that the ground originally given them had been encroached on 
by the erection of Seth Adams Hall and that they thought it no 
more than just that their loss should be made good by the handing 



384 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

over to them of an equal amount of land. The Visiting Committee 
recommended that the Treasurer cause to be cut down such trees 
as in his opinion interfered with the playing of ball on the Delta 
and the Boards gave him the power. 

In 1869 the Boards appropriated not over one hundred and fifty 
dollars for fencing the grounds and putting them in a convenient 
condition for use. But they were not shut off from the view of 
passersby; honest citizens and students could sit in their carriages 
or line the fence and watch the games, a circumstance which serious- 
ly reduced the gate receipts. A few years later grounds, which may 
have been less open to general view, were obtained at Hardings Sta- 
tion, four miles on the road to Bath. It was hoped that with the 
distance thus shortened the residents of the Shipping City would 
attend the games, but they failed to do so while the patronage of the 
students decreased, many alleging that the trip to Hardings made 
too heavy demands on their time and their pocketbooks. In 1884 
the Boards referred a petition of the "Athletic Club" to a committee 
with authority to furnish the club with suitable grounds more remote 
from the college than the Delta if such could be found. But ap- 
parently none were discovered. In 1894 a plan for an oval quarter 
of a mile track at the Delta with two straightaways of 322 feet 
each was worked out. But it required the felling of some of the 
pines and this caused such criticism that the scheme was abandoned. 
The Faculty appointed a committee to consider the subject of a new 
athletic field and Dr. Whittier made an informal report on a situa- 
tion near the Little Village and on another near the Delta. In 1896 
the Faculty allowed the Athletic Association to use for the con- 
struction of a track a triangular bit of college land situated between 
New Meadows Road and Bowker Street. Adjoining land was 
bought for nine hundred dollars and by October the field was ready 
for use. On the tenth of the month the first game was played there, 
Bowdoin defeating Maine at football by a score of twelve to six. 
The Orient, in its own name and that of the student body, asked 
that as a recognition of the work of Dr. Whittier in obtaining the 
field and of his other services to athletics at Bowdoin the new field 
bear his name, and the well-deserved compliment was duly paid. 



ATHLETICS 385 

A great success had been won, but at the price of incurring a 
burdensome debt. A few years later, however, an attempt was made 
to improve matters and was successful in an unhoped for degree. 
The alumni of Portland and vicinity gave over three hundred dol- 
lars, the class of '98 two hundred and forty dollars and the under- 
graduates, themselves, three hundred dollars. But what was far 
more important, General Hubbard, '57, impressed by the generous 
loyalty of the undergraduates, and believing that those who helped 
themselves should be helped by others, gave a grandstand. 

For many years Bowdoin had possessed a wooden affair which 
went by that name. In May, 1894, the Orient announced that "All 
who have been accustomed to frequent the Bowdoin Delta will be 
glad to notice that the old grandstand which had graced or rather 
disgraced this spot so long has given way to a more modern and pre- 
possessing structure." But even this structure left very much to 
be desired. General Hubbard's building, however, as would be ex- 
pected of anything he gave, was of the first quality. It is not a 
stadium, it by no means does away with the necessity for bleachers, 
but it contains seats for about six hundred spectators and a prom- 
enade, and beneath are well-equipped quarters for the home and 
visiting teams. The cost was about thirty-five thousand dollars. 

In 1926 Mr. F. W. Pickard of the class of 1894 gave fifty acres 
of land which will be gradually prepared for various athletic sports. 

For the conduct of intercollegiate athletics some special bodies 
are needed and with the increase of the complexity and cost of the 
system it has been found necessary to give professors and alumni a 
leading part in what was originally a student affair. In 1891 there 
was established an Advisory Athletic Committee consisting of the 
Director of the Gymnasium and one other member of the Faculty, 
two alumni and five students. Considerable authority was given to 
the committee, but in practice little attention was paid to the ath- 
letic constitution, custom ruled rather than law. The need of a 
new and more definite constitution was recognized and one was 
adopted, but owing to the opposition of some of the alumni who were 
most interested in athletics, it was not put in force. The difficulty 



386 THE HISTORY OF BOVDOIN COLLEGE 

arose over the question of graduate representation, the alumni de- 
manding more than the students were willing to grant. At last in 
1902 a compromise was reached and a plan for an Athletic Council 
of two professors, five students and five alumni was agreed to by 
representatives of the students and of the alumni. The new constitu- 
tion was formally ratified by the undergraduates, the Alumni Asso- 
ciation and the Faculty and with a few changes has remained in 
force for twenty-five years. 

The financing of intercollege athletics is sometimes as difficult as 
the winning of victories. At first admission fees and moderate sub- 
scriptions from the undergraduates provided all the money that was 
needed, but these sources of revenue soon proved insufficient, and in 
1895 the Orient, in discussing a letter of the Boston alumni which 
had criticised the student management of athletics, said: "Perhaps 
if the alumni were asked once in a while, instead of not at all, to con- 
tribute money to the support of our athletic interests, it would 
arouse their enthusiasm and bring about the desired closer rela- 
tions." Whatever may have been the case in the last century, in 
the present, the touch method of stimulating Bowdoin loyalty has 
not been neglected. But the cost of sports, like that of everything 
else, has risen tremendously. At first the calls on the students, 
though urgent, were free from compulsion. In 1895, thanks mainly 
to the efforts of Dr. Whittier, the sum of five hundred dollars was 
obtained from graduates and undergraduates and the various ath- 
letic associations were nearly freed from debt. Five years later, 
again under the leadership of Dr. Whittier, four hundred dollars 
was raised at a student mass-meeting. 

In 1908 the baseball association was staggering under a debt of 
one hundred and seventy-five dollars ; unpaid subscriptions if col- 
lected would take care of it but nearly all the delinquents had grad- 
uated or had left college for other reasons. Again a mass-meeting 
was held and Professor Hutchins addressed it in his capacity as 
Treasurer of the Athletic Council. He said that athletics were a stu- 
dent institution and that if the students did not want athletics they 
could maintain their present attitude. If, however, athletics were de- 
sired by the student body, the student body must stand behind them 



ATHLETICS 387 

financially. It cost nearly twice as much to run athletics as it did 
five years before, and every year the amount subscribed per student 
had decreased. This appeal proved effectual. On motion of Ralph 
O. Brewster, '09, the meeting voted that the baseball manager should 
solicit one dollar from every man in college, but for once solicitation 
was unnecessary. When the meeting adjourned the students fairly 
beset the manager with dollar bills in their hands. More dollars 
came in later and the debt was almost wiped out. But the raising 
of money by different subscriptions with an occasional shock treat- 
ment is not a business-like method of procedure. A manager is 
obliged to incur many of his liabilities before the season opens and 
he ought to be assured of a definite revenue. Moreover the unfortu- 
nate managers are obliged to make repeated tours through the dor- 
mitories, where they are as welcome as book-agents, they clash with 
each other and find that the students make the claims of their rivals 
a reason for sending them off with a trifle. In June, 1912, an at- 
tempt was made to avoid these difficulties by the establishment of a 
tax of fifteen dollars, payable in semi-annual installments at the 
beginning of each semester. There was created a new organization, 
the Associated Students of Bowdoin College, or the A. S. B. C, as 
it was commonly called. All students were supposed to join it and 
such as did not were barred from voting or holding office in various 
student associations. It collected the tax from its members and its 
Board of Managers which was composed of the managers of the va- 
rious organizations benefited by the tax, distributed among them 
the money received, in such proportions and for such purposes as it 
deemed best. Because of the large number of objects for which the 
tax was spent it was known as the blanket tax. The payers receive 
the college weekly newspaper and the literary monthly, the Orient, 
and the Quill, and some reduction in the admission to home games. 
The tax, though a burden on self-supporting students, proved in- 
sufficient for its purpose. In April, 1919, an extra assessment of 
five dollars was voted, it being understood that the next year the ex- 
penses which it was levied to meet would be cared for by the Athletic 
Council or by the college. But year after year the supplementary 



388 THE HISTORY OP BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

tax was laid and in 1925 the blanket tax was formally made twenty 
dollars. 

The history of the financial support of athletics by the Bowdoin 
students resembles that of the development of the English poor law. 
After the dissolution of the monasteries the care of the poor was 
left to the free action of kindly disposed persons, but this proved 
insufficient and the central government directed the parsons to ex- 
hort their flocks to liberality in this matter. Then local boards de- 
termined what their neighbors ought to give. Next, Pharaohs 
among the gentry who still hardened their hearts were asked by the 
Privy Council to come to London, often a troublesome and expen- 
sive journey, and explain their unchristian conduct. Finally a law 
was passed for the levying of a compulsory poor rate. At Bowdoin 
there were first numerous and urgent exhortations to help athletics 
and then the amount to be given was fixed by authority. Delinquents 
have been cited before student opinion and their associates stirred to 
action. In 1919, at the request of the Board of Managers, the 
Orient published a list of the men who had neither paid the blanket 
tax nor given a satisfactory reason for their failure to do so, the names 
of the fraternities to which these men belonged were also published. 
In October, 1923, the names of fourteen men who had neither paid 
nor applied for an extension of time were printed in the Orient. 12 
Many then came forward with the money or sufficient excuses and 
the Orient announced that their names should be dropped from the 
roll published in the preceding issue. The final step of legal com- 
pulsion has now been taken. Twice, indeed, the students have voted 
to ask the Boards to put the blanket tax on the term bill. In 
neither case were the Boards willing to grant the request, but in 
1925 they did so, the money being paid to the college treasurer and 
appropriated by the Faculty. 

The establishment of the blanket tax increased and was intended 

12 The publication was against the protest of one of the most prominent and 
active minded of the students who declared in a letter to the Orient that some 
of the men might be unable to pay and that the publication of their names 
resembled blackmail and was an act unworthy of a gentleman. He was answered 
by one of the younger alumni who maintained that it was not the poorest men 
who failed to meet their assessments and that the slackers were more lacking in 
loyalty than in cash. 



ATHLETICS 389 

to increase official power. But it also put into the hands of the 
students the means of seizing their old, rather anarchic control. In 
1924 there appeared a printed appeal to the undergraduates. It 
roughly assailed the Athletic Council and especially its alumni 
members and called on the students to refuse to pay the blanket tax 
unless a radical change of policy was made or at least promised. 
The alumni secretary, who is a member of the Faculty, replied vig- 
orously in the Orient and fortunately the students did not adopt so 
revolutionary a measure as stopping the supplies, which must have 
led to scandal and chaos. 

The development of college athletics placed a heavy burden on the 
managers. Not only do they handle large sums of money but they 
have the responsibility of buying and preserving great quantities of 
equipment and of arranging long trips whose expense is certain but 
whose receipts are doubtful. A week of rain can prove as fatal to 
the finances of an athletic team as a storm on election day may to 
the political fortunes of a candidate who relies on the farmer vote. 
The danger of entrusting the monetary success of a season to very 
young men chosen by a mass of still younger men who have little 
knowledge of the matters at issue, was seen early. The Athletic 
Committee of 1891 was given power to nominate two Managers for 
each sport from whom the association in charge of the sport in 
question was to select one. Like authority was given in 1902 to 
the Athletic Council, the election being made by the student athletic 
association. The nominations by the Council were not always 
satisfactory and on one occasion the students elected a man who 
was not in nomination. As a result the constitution was amended 
by permitting the Athletic Council to name one additional candidate 
if he were recommended to them by the Student Council. An amend- 
ment allowing the recommendation of one additional candidate in 
each sport was defeated by the negative of the Faculty. 13 But a 
little later a new system was adopted and almost immediately dis- 
placed by another, which is still in force. It provides that each 
fraternity and the non-fraternity men shall select not over four of 

13 Amendments require the assent of the students, of the Faculty and of the 
Alumni Association. 



390 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

their Freshmen as candidates for Managerships. They are tried 
out in different sports. At the close of the year they are rated by 
the coaches, choose in order of rank the sport which they prefer and 
serve as assistant managers, of which there are two for each sport. 
At the end of the second year one of them is chosen Manager. There 
are three electoral units, viz. : the captain, the coach and the manager ; 
the lettermen ; the Student Council. A managership is thus a Junior 
office, but an exception is made in the case of football where the man- 
ager must be a Senior, and accordingly two years of assistant work 
are required. 

Not only has more and more care been taken to secure experienced 
and able student managers, but their authority has been limited. 
Formerly each manager had his own funds, made his own purchases 
and paid for them if he could and according to the young fellow's 
ability and the special circumstances of each year there was a deficit 
or a surplus. Other colleges were appointing graduate managers 
and a like course was urged for Bowdoin, but the expense prevented 
action. At last in 1922 Mr. Lyman A. Cousens, Bowdoin '02, ac- 
cepted the position without pay and served until the appointment of 
Mr. Cates as Athletic Director in 1925. Mr. Cousens had the able 
assistance of Mr. Roland H. Cobb, '17, now Assistant Professor of 
Physical Training. Mr. Cousens established a central office which 
controlled all buying, issuing and making of contracts. He brought 
the Athletic Council from a material deficit to a material credit 
balance and is responsible for the finest piece of work done for 
athletics in a long time. 

One of the most serious questions which Bowdoin has had to face 
in athletics, as in general policy, is, shall it consider itself as pri- 
marily a Maine or a New England college. Bowdoin was the first 
college in Maine to take up football, for some years after the others 
began to play the game they were not in its class, and at a student 
mass meeting in 1893 the feeling seemed to be that it was inadvisable 
for Bowdoin to enter a Maine League, that games with the other 
colleges of the state would take much time, for in the earlier Maine 
football seasons, each college played its opponents twice instead of 
once as is the custom today, would weaken the team, and would pre- 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 391 

vent games with out-of-the-state colleges by whom Bowdoin was con- 
sidered a worthy rival. But an out-of-the-state policy had serious 
disadvantages. There were few home games. The students were 
called on for subscriptions but they saw little for their money. If 
this criticism were obviated by bringing Massachusetts teams to 
Portland or Brunswick, the expense was heavy. In a few years the 
other Maine colleges became dangerous opponents of Bowdoin. By 
the alumni and still more by non-Bowdoin men the state games were 
regarded as almost the only games. An excellent fight against a 
Massachusetts college or even a victory meant little in Maine. Bow- 
doin appeared to be dependent on its home state for students. When 
sub-Freshmen and even their fathers, if they lived in Maine, thought 
of Bowdoin as a place for education they considered its athletic 
record and they determined this by the scores of the games with 
Bates, Colby and Maine. 

But alumni living out of Maine took a different view. The games 
which they and their friends saw were the ones played near their 
own homes, those which the Boston and New York papers thought 
worthy of description were the contests with colleges in Massachu- 
setts, southern New England and New York. Possible Freshmen 
from the metropolitan districts were only slightly impressed by the 
fact that worthies like Longfellow and Hawthorne had graduated 
from Bowdoin nearly a century before. William Pitt Fessenden 
was forgotten, perhaps, even "Tom" Reed was nearly so, but if 
Bowdoin beat Amherst and scored on Harvard, there was proof that 
the college was doing great work today ! At the time of the foot- 
ball slump in 1914 the Philadelphia alumni, who had formed a small 
but very zealous association, sent a letter to the college with the war 
cry, more money for the coaches, better games for the teams. They 
urged that permanent relations be established with such institutions 
as Amherst, Williams, Wesleyan, and Trinity even if it became ne- 
cessary to sever the connections with some Maine colleges, and they 
pointed out that the requirements of admission to these latter insti- 
tutions were lower than at Bowdoin and that they had men on their 
teams who had tried in vain to enter Bowdoin. A letter giving 
similar advice was written to the Orient by G. E. Carmichael, '97, 



392 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

the Headmaster of an excellent academy in Connecticut, which he 
had founded himself and had loyally named the Brunswick School. 

President Hyde, however, deemed it most unwise for Bowdoin to 
separate itself from the state from which it sprung. He told the 
Boston alumni that considerations of expense would not be allowed 
to prevent the engaging of a sufficient number of competent coaches 
and that he wished for more games with colleges near Boston, but 
that "We must beware of an arrogant superciliousness that is likely 
to be developed should we follow a recent trend and that is the atti- 
tude of pulling out our connections from colleges whose athletic 
standard is not what we would like our own to be." 

Bowdoin is still wrestling with the problem of intercollegiate ath- 
letic relations, perhaps in the nature of things no final answer can 
reasonably be hoped for. 




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CHAPTER XI 

THE CAMPUS, THE BUILDINGS AND THEIR CONTENTS 



OF the selection of a site for the college mention has already been 
made. The Boards were of necessity chiefly occupied with im- 
mediate needs, but they were not unmindful of the claims of the future 
when the sandy plain then covered with blueberries and pines should 
be a real college campus, and they were determined that as far as in 
them lay the outward appearance of the college should be worthy of 
its function. In November, 1802, shortly after the opening of Bow- 
doin, the Boards voted that there should be made a survey and plan 
of the college grounds on which should be marked the location of the 
college buildings with such as should be contemplated hereafter. In 
1808 a committee was appointed to procure a plan of the ground 
"where the college buildings now stand extending so as to compre- 
hend all additional buildings that may in future be necessary for the 
colleges, 1 to note in said plan all such improvements in the whole 
site as might be made by a removal of any of the present buildings 
with such walks, streets, lanes, and other conveniences as may be 
requisite to complete the plan." Alexander Parris, a well-known 
architect and landscape gardener, was consulted and in September, 
1808, the Boards voted that his plan of a ground plot No. 2 be ac- 
cepted, and that the President, Treasurer and Secretary of the 
Trustees should be a committee to set out on the plot such trees as 
they should judge to be most eligible. The plan has disappeared. 
It was probably destroyed when the treasurer's office, then in a pri- 
vately owned building, was burned in 1862. Professor Packard 
states that the plan provided for a planting of the yard with trees 
on the borders and in square and diamond figures and that trees were 

1 The different buildings were often spoken of as "colleges." 



394 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

set out but that only certain balm-of-gileads and one elm were able 
to live in the sandy soil. 

The college yard was not only bare but small. Professor Packard 
says, "The south fence ran from the north end of Appleton to Maine 
St. in front; and the rest of the present grounds to College St., and 
the whole area in rear of the halls to the pines and to Cleaveland 
street was open common." 

Efforts were made to change the desolate aspect of the campus. 
The different classes celebrated tree days. The Faculty would grant 
adjourns to a class and the members would go to the woods, dig up a 
small tree and transplant it to the college yard. Unfortunately the 
young gardeners often closed the day in a less innocent manner. 
But the custom of tree planting gradually died out. In 1841 a stu- 
dent noted in his diary that only a few of his class would take part. 
The college, however, did not allow the whole burden of arboriculture 
to fall upon the students. But the Boards were less liberal than the 
Visiting Committee. In 1835 a proposal was made that the portion 
of the college land lying south of that already fenced be likewise en- 
closed, cultivated and ornamented with trees, the college officers 
living on or near it, Professors Smyth, Packard and Newman, having 
offered to be responsible for its cultivation. The Visiting Committee 
approved the suggestion but the Boards refused. 

In 1840 the Committee advised that, as the library had a surplus 
of seven hundred and fifty-four dollars, the continuing appropria- 
tion of three hundred dollars a year for its benefit be suspended for 
three years and that the money be used for the improvement of the 
grounds. The Committee stated that their waste and desolate ap- 
pearance contrasted unfavorably with that of other institutions, 
that this was due to the poorness of the soil and not to negligence, 
but that a little extra attention would work a great improvement at 
a small expense. It suggested that a terrace be erected some six or 
eight feet from the walls of the two dormitories, Winthrop and 
Maine, that the soil within it be covered with clay or manure and 
then ornamented with trees, shrubbery and flowering plants. The 
Committee expressed the opinion that this would have a favorable 
effect on the health, taste and even the morals of the students, "as 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 395 

there is unquestionably a sympathetic influence, however secret and 
impalpable it may be, between external and internal order, between 
what we habitually behold and daily do, between what pleases us and 
what makes us please others." The Boards were not ready at that 
time to go so far as the Committee proposed, but they appropriated 
one hundred dollars for raising an embankment around Maine and 
Winthrop, planting trees and improving the grounds. Later more 
liberal appropriations were made for the latter purpose and in 
1857 the sum of three hundred dollars a year was voted for four 
years for carrying out, with certain modifications, plans furnished 
by Mr. Lucas, a landscape gardener of Massachusetts, the work to 
be under the supervision of the President and the Treasurer. Mr. 
Lucas, with the cooperation of Rev. Dr. Chickering of Portland, de- 
vised what Mr. Cleaveland describes as "the tree border in waving 
lines, which now adorns (some may say conceals) the halls and 
grounds from the passerby." Over four thousand trees were set out 
and the Visiting Committee highly praised both Lucas' plans and 
the execution of them, but Professor Little says in his Historical 
Sketch, "Unfortunately neither the tastes of the landscape gardener 
nor the votes of the Boards had influence over the sandy soil. When 
the railroad was constructed through the village a large amount of 
clay and loam was distributed over the enclosure with good results. 
Subsequent attempts at enrichment of the soil have been confined to 
very limited portions." The campus was mown but once a year and 
one of the perquisites of the janitor was pasturage upon the college 
grounds for his cows. 

In 1884 Acting-President Packard urged that a definite plan be 
adopted for the improvement of the grounds. He said that the col- 
lege could not afford to employ an engineer but that if some friend 
of Bowdoin would give his services as a labor of love something 
might be accomplished. Little was done, however, for over fifteen 
years and the college was publicly criticised because of the unkempt 
state of its campus. For this the students may have been somewhat 
to blame. Undergraduates like other Americans are prone "to catch 
the nearest way," and they persistently refused to keep off the grass. 
Their conduct moved the Orient to remark, "The college authorities 



396 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

justly think that there is little need for any new cuts into the cam- 
pus lawn. The few short-cut paths which are essential will eventu- 
ally be made into walks but after that there will be serious restric- 
tions put on the formation of any new paths. Such a conservative 
compromise between a lane and a pasture ought to suit every one 
and every one ought to take his share in keeping it in condition." 

In the nineties a landscape gardener set out a few flower beds 
which were later, with general approval, turned back to grass. When 
the new library building was erected in 1902 the campus was neces- 
sarily much torn up and the Boards took advantage of the oppor- 
tunity to grade it, appropriating not over one thousand dollars for 
this purpose. In 1910 the Boards voted six hundred dollars for re- 
moving and replanting trees. Professor Files gave over two hun- 
dred varieties of young trees, the larger, mostly evergreens, were to 
be set out in their permanent positions at once, the smaller ones were 
to be placed near the observatory and transplanted later. Among 
the kinds selected by Professor Files were the Scotch pine, Norway 
spruce, pines, box, elder, and several varieties of the oak. 

The care of the campus involved provision for the health and com- 
fort of the students, particularly the securing of pure drinking water 
and proper drainage. To the first the Boards gave early attention. 
In November, 1802, they requested Messrs. Dunlap and Hasey, 
members of the Board of Overseers, and residents of Brunswick and 
Topsham, respectively, to cause two wells which had already been 
begun to be sunk. Subsequently other wells were driven. Still later 
barrels of water popularly known as "split," from a student yarn 
that they had originally contained corpses for the medical school 
preserved in alcohol, were placed behind the chapel. In cold weather 
a tank took the place of the barrels. In 1906 small tanks which are 
kept filled with Pine Spring water were placed in the ends. 

A matter of great importance to the physical comfort of Bowdoin 
students is the provision of proper walks. Brunswick is situated on 
a sandy plain, it is noted for its low temperatures, 2 and mud, water, 

2 In the early part of the nineteenth century a vigorous war was waged be- 
tween Hallowell and Brunswick for the "honor" of being the coldest town in the 
United States. Hallowell, however, appears to have had the best of the contest. 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 397 

snow and ice make locomotion at times difficult and even dangerous. 
In 1804 the President was authorized to have "plank ways" laid 
down from his house, and the "college," that is, Massachusetts Hall, 
to the Chapel. From time to time other walks were made but they 
were sometimes too low, the natural difficulties in securing a dry 
campus were great and there was much dissatisfaction. In 1898 the 
Orient announced that, "A regular line of steamers will soon be put 
on between the various points of the flooded campus," and it asked 
why some of the money lately received by the college could not be 
used for levelling or draining the walks. Something was done but 
not enough, and in 1902 the Orient expressed the hope that the 
promised board walks would come the next year, and repeated the 
old joke about boats being put on the campus. The grading which 
followed the erection of Hubbard Hall wrought a great improve- 
ment, the campus has now many raised gravel paths winding through 
a well-kept lawn, yet it must be admitted that there is still too much 
snow and ice in the winter and far too much water in the spring. 

For three-quarters of a century the lighting of the campus was 
left to nature. It was by the "bonnie moon" and the "little stars" 
that '68, according to its war-song, was mustered to do or die. In 
1875 the Orient asked why lamps could not be placed along the 
paths, and said that they were much needed and that, if the new oil 
were used, the expense would be only about three cents a night. But 
artificial illumination of the campus was not to come for some years 
and then it was introduced for the benefit of the citizens of Bruns- 
wick rather than for that of the students. After Memorial Hall was 
finished various public exercises were held there in the evening, the 
townspeople experienced some difficulty in finding their way to the 
hall and two lamps were placed on paths leading to the entrance. 
Other lights were put on the campus from time to time and subse- 
quently electricity was introduced, and now the quadrangle formed 
by the principal buildings is well illuminated, perhaps, in the opinion 
of some, too much so. In 1900 the Orient expressed a fear that the 
lighting of the entrances to the Science and other buildings would 
spoil the effect of the campus on moonlight nights, and Professor 



398 THE HISTORY OF BOVDOIN COLLEGE 

Johnson is reported to have said that the loggia of the Art Building 
was lighted to keep off the human June-bugs. 

From early days a part of the college grounds was protected 
against the intrusion of the cows which for many years were allowed 
to roam the streets of Brunswick and from time to time more of the 
yard was enclosed. The fence consisted of plain bars and uprights, 
with iron posts in the middle of the narrow entrances. In 1896 the 
Orient noted with pleasure that, "The old whitewashed fence, whose 
only sphere of usefulness was to furnish material for Hallowe'en bon- 
fires, and its adjuncts the posts, to get between which one had to go 
through a series of contortions, have both disappeared from the 
front of the campus." But at times the old fence had died tem- 
porarily, for worthier ends than student celebrations. Elijah Kel- 
logg, at his fiftieth commencement, told, perhaps, with playful ex- 
aggeration, how when his funds were low he would go out at night 
and burn the fence and then the innocent Treasurer would hire him 
to rebuild it. 

Nearly every college with a century of history has had connected 
with it at least one "Character" of marked eccentricity and known by 
some nickname to generations of college students. If temporary so- 
journers and brief, though regular visitors, 3 are excluded, Bowdoin 
has had but one of this class, Thomas A. Curtis, as he called himself, 
or Diogenes as he was renamed by the students. He came to Bruns- 
wick as exhibitor of a small puppet show, soon undertook the clean- 
ing and pressing of old clothes, and then gave himself to the dis- 
charge of some of the duties of a janitor, building the fires in recita- 
tion rooms and in the studies of such ease-loving undergraduates as 
chose to employ him. For about twenty-five years he lived in a hovel 
which he himself erected, and during all this time he maintained the 
strictest silence concerning his former life. Many persons made 
conjectures, some of which were probable, some not, but no one knew. 

3 Like "Daniel Pratt," "the great American traveller," who passed most of his 
life going from college to college amusing the students by inconsequent addresses 
and receiving from them contributions and a nomination for the presidency of the 
United States. An account of a reception of this well-known half-wit of the 
third quarter of the nineteenth century will be found in Minot and Snow's Tales 
of Bowdoin, pp. 127-132. 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 399 

There were, however, certain traits of character, mostly unfortunate, 
which were patent to all. Diogenes was mildly cynical, from which 
circumstance or from his custom of carrying a lantern on windy 
mornings as he passed from dormitory to dormitory before dawn, he 
obtained his name. He shunned women, and he seemed to have a 
conscientious scruple against the use of soap, but he had a strong 
liking for whiskey. Yet though he lived in dirt and degradation he 
had not wholly lost the bearing of a gentleman. Professor Chap- 
man, in an account of him written for Minot and Snow's Tales of 
Bowdoin, says, "Once in the year, with considerable pains and 
awkwardness doubtless, but with conscientious regularity, he went 
through the ordeal of a toilet, and adorned himself with such nice- 
ties of dress as he could command, and brought forth a less dilapi- 
dated hat that he was wont to wear and, thus arrayed he proceeded 
with unaffected dignity to call upon President Woods, to receive 
from him an order upon the college treasurer for his modest stipend. 
Any student that chanced to meet him on one of these annual official 
errands deemed himself fortunate as indeed he was — he would see 
the shuffling menial transformed for the moment, into a self-respect- 
ing gentleman who had relations with the president of the college; 
and the picture was one that would not fade from his mind." One 
refined taste Diogenes permanently retained, he collected books. 
There were hundreds piled in his hut, they were of good quality, he 
was familiar with their contents, and not unwilling to show his 
knowledge. 

Bowdoin has, and probably will have for many years, a memorial 
of its strange unknown. In describing the close of his life Professor 
Chapman says, "He was probably somewhat more than ninety years 
old at his death, which occurred on the thirtieth of April, 1868. The 
funeral services were conducted by President Harris, and he was 
buried according to his expressed wish, in the town of Weld, because 
it was the burial place of the family of his landlady who had always 
been kind to him, and in whose house he died. 

"When at last he had left the solitude of his poor hut, for the 
scarcely deeper solitude of the grave, it was impossible by inquiry 
or advertisement, to find any kinsfolk to inherit his meagre belong- 



400 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

ings ; and after two or three years of fruitless effort, his administra- 
tor transferred his books to the college library, where they are still 
to be found bearing the label, 'From the Library of Thomas A. 
Curtis.' The law and the library know him only as Thomas A. 
Curtis, but his contemporaries among the students remember him 
more familiarly and kindly as Diogenes." 

At the Commencement of 1868 the Visiting Committee reported 
that the death of Mr. Curtis rendered it necessary to supply his 
place and suggested, without making a formal recommendation, that 
it would simplify the work and perhaps save expense to employ one 
person at a fixed salary, who should have general charge of the 
buildings and grounds, of the heating and the lights. They also 
suggested the appointment of a college carpenter, if one could be 
obtained for not over six hundred dollars a year. 

The Boards authorized the employment of a carpenter for a por- 
tion of the year at a cost of not over seventy-five dollars a month 
and four hundred dollars in all. In 1870 they appropriated money 
to pay Mr. Booker the balance due for his services as carpenter and 
janitor the preceding year. Like Diogenes, Mr. Booker was to play 
an important part in student life and to be a familiar figure on the 
campus for a quarter of a century. He was not mysterious or dis- 
reputable but his relations with the undergraduates were less har- 
monious than were those of his predecessor. The boys, from time to 
time, tried to block the entrance to the chapel to prevent the ringing 
of the bell for college exercises, it was Mr. Booker's duty to remove 
the barricade in season for due calling to chapel and recitation. In 
this war both parties showed much ingenuity and zeal but the honors 
usually remained with Mr. Booker. The students took such defeats 
manfully and without rancor but they complained bitterly that Mr. 
Booker did not show similar energy in the performance of his other 
duties, particularly in replacing broken glass. Bitter comments on 
his slowness appeared in the Orient and the Bugle. The Orient of 
1886 contained the following "poem": 

"Oh Booker ! in your life of ease, 
Sequestered, wily, hard to seize, 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 401 

When cold the cruel north winds blow, 

Through windows broken months ago, 

We freeze and sigh — but sigh in vain 

To see thy genial face again. 

Our life is short, the grave is near, 

We have not long to linger here ; 

But, Booker, ere away we pass, 

Come round, come round and set that glass." 

How far such criticism was justified is hard to say. In 1881 the 
Visiting Committee admitted that the students had reason for com- 
plaint, but said that Mr. Booker was a faithful and efficient officer 
and that it was impossible to meet all the demands on him as prompt- 
ly as was desirable. If the students made frank remarks about and 
to their janitor that worthy could return the compliment. On one 
occasion he found a hedge scorched, on inquiring the cause he was 
informed that a student had been burning papers and that the hedge 
had been singed, whereat he gave utterance to a dictum which some 
of his more highly placed colleagues may, at times, have been 
tempted to utter, "It is a remarkable fact that in every institution 
of learning there are some men destitute of brains." 

Mr. Booker's work was chiefly done in the buildings, he had an 
assistant, William Condon, "Professor of Agriculture," who worked 
on the grounds. Late in life he became temporarily insane and was 
committed to the asylum at Augusta. He soon recovered, however, 
and resumed his duties, to the pleasure of the students who, the 
Orient said, were all glad to see the faithful old knight of the spade 
again among them. Mr. Booker had also under his orders men to 
attend to the furnaces. 

Mr. Booker was succeeded in 1896 by Isaiah Simpson, the super- 
intendent of the Pejepscot Water Company. The janitor's assist- 
ants had not been wholly desirable citizens and the new chief pro- 
ceeded to purify his force in a manner which did not please the stu- 
dents. They presented a petition for the reinstatement of the men 
discharged, and in the Orient and the Bugle there appeared such 
statements as, "A cry for Joe went up when the steam went down in 



402 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

South Maine," "Joe was wanted to fix the hydrants," "the Seniors 
could get no water in the Gym, 'twas not so when the old fireman was 
with us. We prefer a little less virtue on the part of our firemen 
and a little more heat." "Our friend Lishe has left the employ of the 
college. The old gang is no more." Electric light bulbs had been 
taken from the reading room, "If we only had 'Lishe' back. He used 
to look after the details." But the changes proved advantageous, 
on the whole, and when Mr. Simpson died in 1912 the college lost a 
faithful and useful officer. 

Mr. Simpson was succeeded by Mr. Charles Winslow, an elderly 
gentleman, who did his work faithfully, but very unobtrusively. Mr. 
Winslow had no immediate successor and the superintendency of 
grounds and buildings fell into abeyance until the appointment of 
the present superintendent, Mr. A. T. Barrows. Mr. Barrows has 
proved himself a careful man who looks closely after all details, but 
the students have expressed a wish that he would be more liberal 
with sand and gravel during the slippery season. Mr. Barrows has 
saved several lives and has received a Carnegie medal for heroism. 

Mention may also be made of "Jim" MacBane, for a number of 
years janitor of Maine Hall and later head janitor. On Mr. 
MacBane's death in 1920 the Orient said, "One of the happy fea- 
tures of the student life at Bowdoin is the very close feeling of 
friendship and good will between the students and the college em- 
ployees. Perhaps we do not fully realize this intimate connection 
until such a man as 'Jim' Macbane is removed from our daily life. 
James MacBane was ever a faithful worker and a genial cheerful 
friend and helper to the students. Both students and alumni will 
feel his loss deeply. His place in the hearts of those who have 
known him can never be filled." 

President Sills said of him in a chapel address, "In these days 
when there is so much careless slipshod work it was always a fine 
thing to see how thoroughly he performed all his duties and the 
pride and interest he took in keeping the buildings under his care in 
as fine condition as possible. There was a great deal of Scotch 
thoroughness about him both in his character and his work. He was 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 403 

always popular with the students and with his fellow workmen." A 
tablet in memory of Mr. MacBane has been placed in Maine Hall. 

Dormitories 

The erection of the first dormitory has already been noticed. 
For some years it was called simply "the college," but when Maine 
was admitted to the Union the Boards formally gave it the name of 
the state. The new building in some respects proved the most for- 
tunate of the dormitories and in others the least. It seems to have 
attracted students noted for their good morals and piety, probably 
members of the Praying Circle, since its two ends were nicknamed 
"Paradise" and "Zion." Maine was the first dormitory to be given 
steam heat and other modern improvements. But though favored by 
the wise and good, that is, the Faculty and the Praying Circle, 
Maine would appear to have been under the special frown of provi- 
dence. It has twice been the victim of fire and is the only dormitory 
at Bowdoin which has suffered seriously from this cause. The first 
fire occurred on March 4, 1822. It was thought to have started in 
the attic. Most of the students rooming in the hall were attending 
a lecture and when the fire was discovered about three o'clock in the 
afternoon it was too late to save the interior of the building, which 
was completely gutted. Private property to the value of about fif- 
teen hundred dollars was destroyed, but the loss of the college was 
far more serious for there was no insurance. The Faculty met next 
day in great anxiety. At their request Joseph McKeen, a son of the 
first President and later Treasurer of the college, went at once to 
Boston to seek financial aid. One of the overseers, Mr. R. D. Dunn- 
ing of Brunswick, undertook a like mission to Kennebunk, Alfred 
and other towns, and Treasurer Abbot went to the East. 

The first report from Massachusetts was extremely discouraging. 
On March 8 Mr. McKeen wrote to Charles S. Daveis of Portland: 
"There will be something done here, but the amount must be small. 
I am at almost every step reminded that we are now a separate state 
and must support our own institutions. Portland, I presume, will 
take the lead in relieving the College from its present embarrass- 



404 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

ments. I have taken the liberty to write that the friends of the 
College in your vicinity may not place too much reliance on Boston. 
The citizens of Maine must put their shoulders to the wheel or the 
College must suffer." The citizens did so. Old Judge Sewall, who 
had given money for a prize, the "Sewall Premium," before Bow- 
doin opened, promptly sent a hundred dollar bill. But Massachu- 
setts also did well, playing the part of the son in the parable who 
said I go not and afterward repented and went. The change may 
have been partly due to a circular signed by two eminent members 
of the Supreme Court, former residents of Maine — Chief Justice 
Parker, who had been a Trustee, and Associate Justice Wilde, who 
was then an Overseer. The circular said in part, "The late fire has 
destroyed the principal edifice belonging to the institution, and the 
only one which is capable of being occupied by the students of which 
there are upwards of a hundred. The village in which the college is 
situated, is too small to afford accommodations to so many stu- 
dents in private homes without great inconvenience to the inhab- 
itants, besides exposing them to the temptations to idleness and 
vice, which a remission of discipline, in consequence of their scat- 
tered state will be likely to produce ; in addition to this, the want of 
sufficient accommodations for students, at the cheaper rates at 
which they have been obtained in the building belonging to the Col- 
lege, will be likely to diminish their number now and hereafter, and 
thus cause a great diminution in one of the principal sources from 
which the expenses of the institution is defrayed — Bowdoin College 
is a child of Massachusetts ; as such it should be fostered and pro- 
tected. Though politically separated from the parent stock, the 
State of Maine will always be a member of the same family, its in- 
habitants springing for the most part from Massachusetts, cannot 
but resemble in character, manners and principles, the people with 
whom they so lately made one. 

"How important that a country with which such relations exist, 
should have preserved to it an institution which, more than any thing 
else, will strengthen these ties. It is the country to which our young 
men will continue to emigrate. [Their Honors evidently did not real- 
ize that the fertile prairies of the Mississippi Valley would be more 




3 * 

- I— I 



u 



S a 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 405 

attractive than the Maine woods.] Massachusetts will be the parent 
country, and Boston for a century to come, be its commercial cap- 
ital. Let then the same feeling of kindness which would be felt 
towards the unfortunate, within our own territory, be extended 
towards those who are in some respects the same people as our- 
selves." Bowdoin could make another appeal which the judges may 
not have wished to mention publicly for fear of offending the Uni- 
tarian denomination which, though small, contained a disproportion- 
ate number of the educated and wealthy men of Eastern Massa- 
chusetts. The college was in substance though not in legal form a 
Congregationalist institution. The members of that Church now 
came generously to its aid. Some assistance was obtained from 
neighboring states and even from a few persons outside New Eng- 
land. The great New York landowner, Stephen Van Rensalaer, 
who was noted for his generosity and his interest in religious mat- 
ters, gave one hundred and fifty dollars. In Washington, John C. 
Calhoun, who came of Presbyterian stock, gave twenty-five dollars, 
President Monroe, fifty dollars, and John Quincy Adams, whose 
contribution should perhaps be credited to Massachusetts rather 
than to the capital, gave one hundred dollars. William H. Craw- 
ford, the Secretary of the Treasury, and Postmaster General Meigs 
also subscribed. Three of these gentlemen expected to be candidates 
for the Presidency at the next election. Maine had not pronounced 
in favor of any of the aspirants, and it is possible that in some cases 
the liberality was not wholly unselfish. When the balance was 
finally struck it appeared that the college was decidedly a gainer by 
the fire. The final account stood, 

Receipts 

Massachusetts 

Boston .$2,650.00 

Other Towns 1,257.37 

Maine 4,622.93 

Connecticut 76.25 

S. Van Rensalaer 150.00 

President Monroe 50.00 



406 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

J. Q. Adams 100.00 

J. C. Calhoun 25.00 

New Hampshire 269.121/4 

Additional Subscriptions 234.441^ 

$9,735.32 
Cost of Repairs 6,513.44 

To College Treasury $3,221.88 

Prompt measures were taken for restoring the hall. On March 27 
a plan was accepted. The Boards decided that the four center 
rooms on the ground floor should be used for recitation rooms and 
therefore be built without study closets 4 or wood-holes. A com- 
mittee was directed to advertise for proposals for rebuilding in two 
Boston papers and in as many Maine papers as it thought best. 

After the horse had been stolen care was taken to lock the stable 
door. The Boards ordered the purchase of twenty fenders at a cost 
of not over sixty dollars, and of fifty stoves with doors. The Pres- 
ident, the Secretary of the Trustees and Professor Cleaveland were 
appointed a committee to devise an economical method of pro- 
tecting the roofs of the buildings against fire, with authority to 
draw from the treasury a sum of not over one hundred dollars to 
carry into execution such plans as they might approve. 

A second and more serious fire occurred in unfortunate Maine on 
February 17, 1836. A student thus described it in a letter to his 
father : 

February 17, 1836. 
"Dear Father : 

I suppose that you will have heard of the fire here before this 
reaches you. It began about two o'clock this morning in the north- 
east corner of Maine Hall, either in the cellar or on the lower floor ; 
the room has lately had a new fireplace, and it is supposed to have 
originated in some defect in this. It was occupied by Richardson a 
freshman ; as his bed was out of order in some way, he came to 

4 Tiny rooms where, when the temperature permitted, the students could shut 
themselves in and study in greater quiet. 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 407 

McKeen Hall 5 and slept with Scamman ; if he had not he would un- 
doubtedly [have] been smothered by the dense smoke. One of the stu- 
dents in the fourth story was the first to smell the smoke, he jumped 
up and without stopping to attempt to save anything ran down stairs 
breaking open all the students' doors as he passed them. All the 
students in that end lost everything but the clothes they wore, most 
of them leaving their outside garments and watches, even. Dr. 
Adams, the tutor, roomed in that end, and believing when he awaked 
that the staircase was in flames, he jumped out of the window and 
broke his leg just above the ankle ; he was found lying on the ground 
by some of the students who carried him into New College [Win- 
throp Hall]. Silsbee, one of the two who walked to Portland and 
back the same day, knew that there was a letter for his chum in the 
fourth story of that entry containing a hundred dollars. The stair- 
case was by this time entirely destroyed, but the room happened to 
be a middle one, and he went into the one next to it in the other end, 
climbed around the double wall separating the two ends, passing 
from one window to the other, got the letter and returned in safety. 
This was very difficult and dangerous on account of the thickness of 
the college walls and what no other fellow could have done. 

"The flames were communicated by the roof to the other half of 
the building, and beginning at the top, of course consumed it very 
slowly ; everything was saved from this end even the doors and 
windows." 

The Hall was rebuilt by contract for $10,800.00 and $300.00 was 
subsequently voted to defray an additional expense for heating ap- 
paratus. The middle entrance and the cornice of the old Maine were 
omitted in the new, much to the regret of the older graduates, and 
the dormitory became a plain brick rectangle free from any hint 
of beauty except a balustrade across the roof which, proving in- 
convenient, was subsequently removed. 

Further precautions were taken against fire by providing grates, 
blowers and fenders for the students' rooms and constructing fur- 
naces to warm the recitation rooms. The Treasurer was appointed 

5 McKeen Hall was a wooden building on the corner of Main and Cleaveland 
Streets, which had rooms for students in the second story. 



408 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

agent for the purchase of fuel and he was authorized to procure coal 
for the students, "Schuylkill coal if practicable," to be burned in 
Maine Hall as long as he should deem it advisable or until the fur- 
ther order of the Boards. He was also to report to them the follow- 
ing year on the comparative cost of heating by coal and by wood. 
One hundred and twenty-five dollars was appropriated for con- 
structing a cistern in the college yard. Prevention is better than 
cure but cure is sometimes necessary. Accordingly the Boards di- 
rected the Treasurer to place an insurance of $24,000.00 on the 
college buildings, divided as he thought proper, and appropriated 
two hundred dollars a year for premiums, the appropriation to con- 
tinue until the Boards should direct otherwise. 

The increase in the number of students at President Allen's ac- 
cession rendered additional accommodations necessary and in 1822 
a new dormitory was built at a cost of $9,536.16. The building was 
placed one hundred feet north of Maine and was of the same bare, 
bleak appearance. For over twenty years it was known as "New 
College" or "North College," then it was named Winthrop Hall for 
John Winthrop, the first Governor of Massachusetts Bay. 

New dormitories are fresher and cleaner and usually better 
equipped than the older ones and rooms in them are usually sought 
by students from wealthy families, and the north end of Winthrop 
quickly became the aristocratic quarter of the college. But aris- 
tocracy and propriety do not always go together and the conduct 
of the students rooming in Winthrop soon became so disorderly as 
to gain for its "ends" the nicknames of Sodom and Gomorrah. 

In 1839 the Visiting Committee spoke of the bad condition and 
reputation of the north end, whose ill fame seems always to have ex- 
ceeded that of the south. In 1850 it was repaired and the Visiting 
Committee stated that some of the best scholars in the college roomed 
there. In 1853 it made the cheering report that the bad reputation 
of certain localities [presumably North and South Winthrop] had 
in great measure passed away and that students of irreproachable 
moral character were willing to live in it. But bad habits soon re- 
turn and in 1864 the Boards ordered North Winthrop to be closed. 
In 1868 it was reopened and repaired at an expense of nearly two 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 409 

thousand dollars. Gas pipes were laid and it was estimated that 
fixtures could be put in the rooms and halls for only one hundred 
and twenty-five dollars. But the Visiting Committee reported that 
in the present low state of the college finances it was not prepared to 
recommend such action. With greater prosperity, however, the step 
was taken. 

Winthrop had been erected but a few years when there came a de- 
mand for still another dormitory. In 1835 President Allen said in 
his annual report that it might be well to fix the location according 
to a "three college plan" adopted by the Boards some years previ- 
ously, that there were now enough students to fill three dormitories, 
that another dormitory would be required in four years and that a 
fifth might be needed later. The President appreciated the need of 
proper separation, and of allowance for the future growth of the 
college. He said that "the distance of one hundred feet between the 
college edifices cannot be regarded as too great. Perhaps, there- 
fore, the new college should be placed at least 300 feet south of 
Maine Hall, leaving room for a central Chapel with a space of 100 
feet on each side of it. The uniformity of arrangement would be 
grateful to the eye and the security against fire is not to be over- 
looked." 

The Boards voted that a dormitory be erected in the place rec- 
ommended by President Allen, that efforts be made to find some per- 
son who would defray the expense, and that the Hall bear the name 
of the donor. But no such benefactor appeared and in 1843 the col- 
lege itself built the dormitory at a cost of $9,088.25, the money 
being taken from the seventy thousand dollars given by alumni and 
friends of the college about this time. The Hall was known for a 
few years as South College, but in 1845 the Boards named it Apple- 
ton Hall in grateful recollection of President Appleton's services, 
and to commemorate his name and his virtues. Appleton Hall has 
had an uneventful history. It has not been burned like Maine or 
closed because of its bad reputation like Winthrop. For a while it 
was known as New Jerusalem, but in 1860 the Saturday night cele- 
brations in the north end made the recent foundation of a college 
temperance society very appropriate. 



410 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

President Allen's prophecy that a new dormitory would be needed 
almost immediately proved entirely wrong. A check in the increase 
of the number of students, a greater liberality of the Faculty in per- 
mitting rooming in private houses, and finally the erection of chap- 
ter houses prevented the building of another dormitory for seventy- 
five years. But if there was slight call for a new dormitory there 
were repeated and urgent demands for a renovation of the old ones. 
First gas and then electric lights were put in them, but they had neither 
steam heat, bathrooms nor toilets. 

President Hyde said in his report for 1891-1892: "Owing to the 
straightened finances of the college the dormitories, which were as 
good as the average college dormitory forty years ago have been 
allowed to decline until they are no longer fit for the occupancy of 
persons who are supposed to be under civilizing and refining influ- 
ences. Their dingy and disfigured condition invites contempt. The 
accommodation afforded is primitive in the extreme and neither 
comfort of body nor elevation of mind is to be had within their 
walls." In accordance with the President's recommendation the 
Boards voted to remodel Maine Hall, to heat it by steam and to put 
toilets and a bowl with running water on every floor. Ten thousand 
dollars was appropriated to defray the expense. Probably the 
change was made reluctantly. The majority of the Trustees and 
Overseers were elderly men and such persons usually believe that 
what they had as boys ought to satisfy the pampered youth of to- 
day. The Visiting Committee hinted that the change had proved a 
disappointment. It said that the preference of the students for the 
new apartments was not unanimous nor pronounced, that the rents 
had been fixed at from sixty-six to one hundred and fourteen dollars 
a room and that they would not yield over four per cent on the in- 
vestment, but that many students considered them too high. The 
Committee, however, recommended a revision of the rents, but with 
as little change as possible in the total amounts. 

The students may have objected to a considerable increase in 
rents and especially to a difference in the prices for rooms which 
they did not feel to be warranted by comparative desirability, but 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 411 

they were not satisfied to live without "the conveniences which mod- 
ern times have made so common as to seem necessary." Winthrop 
and Appleton were remodelled on the same general lines as Maine 
had been and Maine itself was improved. But time brought loud 
demands for further change. In 1926 twenty thousand dollars was 
spent in reconstructing the interior of Winthrop, putting in tiled 
bathrooms and so forth, and it is probable that a like sum will be 
spent on Appleton and Maine in 1927 and 1928. 

For very many years the students were expected to live the simple 
life, but they were not required to take care of their rooms, perhaps 
because this was not considered as suitable work for men. The first 
class, indeed, may have done so throughout its course, and other 
students for a shorter time, but in 1806 the Boards authorized the 
Faculty to "employ a sweeper at what they consider a sufficient and 
reasonable compensation for her services." On May 10, 1824, the 
Faculty voted "that each student, whether present or absent, pay 
one dollar each term for bed-making, sweeping, etc., and that the 
bed-maker include the officers rooms [rooms in the dormitories occu- 
pied by professors and tutors as studies and offices] in the rooms 
to be swept as public rooms, — it being expected, that as an equiva- 
lent for the increased compensation the bed-makers fill the lamps of 
students if requested." The relations between the students and the 
bed-makers have not always been cordial. The former were some- 
times disorderly and the latter lazy. The Orient of 1875 said at the 
end of the college year, "We hope the terminus ladies will take a 
good long rest, so that they will be able to carry a broom up higher 
than the first flight." Women in the students' rooms might give rise 
to scandal, perhaps even cause for it, and care was taken to remove 
temptation. In earlier days the Faculty appointed the bed-makers 
and there is a tradition that one of the presidents, whenever a bed- 
maker was nominated, would ask, "Is she sufficiently repulsive in her 
personal appearance?" A custom would appear to have been thor- 
oughly established, the college life of the writer came years after the 
good president had gone to his reward, but the "end women," as we 
termed them, amply met his requirements. 



412 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

With the advent of the twentieth century the long reign of the end 
women came to a close. In 1901 the Orient spoke sharply of the 
conditions of the students' rooms, but said that the end women were 
not to blame, that each woman was required to take care of sixteen 
bedrooms and sixteen studies in two hours and that the whole six 
were paid less than was given to one man for working on the campus. 
The Orient urged that there be a man for each dormitory who should 
work all day. "Steam heating apparatus has been installed in all 
the halls, and last winter the rooms were warm. Let us hope that 
next year they will be clean." At Commencement the Boards di- 
rected that six men be appointed to care for the ends. The number 
was subsequently increased. 

In providing dormitories for the students the college not only gave 
a privilege but imposed a duty. In the first edition of the laws, that 
of 1817, there is a rule that no student shall room out of college un- 
less all the college rooms are occupied. As Bowdoin needed the 
room rents, the prohibition was seldom relaxed, and even then care 
might be taken to protect the treasury. In 1843 the Visiting Com- 
mittee recommended that students residing in Brunswick or Tops- 
ham be allowed to live at home. They said that such permission was 
usually given in other colleges, that it was advantageous to the stu- 
dents from an economical point of view and that it brought them 
more directly under parental supervision. The Boards voted that 
for urgent reasons these students might be allowed to live out of 
college the coming year. In 1845 the privilege was extended to all 
students without regard to residence, but they were obliged to pay 
rent for the rooms which they did not occupy. This requirement, 
however, might be waived by the Faculty when it would bear hardly 
on poor students and the next year it was given power to dispense 
with the rule in cases where the health of the student made it neces- 
sary that he should live at home. In 1875 the Visiting Committee 
recommended that only Brunswick and Topsham students be al- 
lowed to room out, that they be obliged to obtain the written per- 
mission of the President and the Treasurer and that this be given 
only for special and urgent reasons. 

In 1879 President Chamberlain told the Boards that the require- 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 413 

merit of rooming in the dormitories sometimes kept students away 
either because of the expense or because their parents desired them 
to room outside. 

The rule was not formally repealed for many years, but it was 
seldom enforced, and was at last openly abandoned when the fra- 
ternities were allowed to build chapter houses. There was, indeed, 
some thought of requiring the societies to make good the loss of 
room rent, but with the increase of students not only were the old 
dormitories filled but a new one became necessary. 

In 1917 a new dormitory well equipped with modern conveniences 
was erected by contributions from numerous alumni and was named 
William DeWitt Hyde Hall. 

Rules were made not only to ensure the students rooming in college 
but to determine what rooms they should occupy. In 1815 the Fac- 
ulty voted that applications for rooms must be made at least a week 
before Commencement and that after rooms had been assigned no 
exchanges should be allowed. Later, exchanges were permitted for 
reasons arising after the drawing. In 1873 a rule was passed that 
no student rooming with one of a higher class should thereby ac- 
quire any right to his room against a member of a higher class or of 
his own. There was need of restriction since students had evaded 
the rules not only for the purpose of getting better rooms but to 
make money. Two students would apply for different rooms and 
after receiving them would room together and sell the vacant one. 
Of course the matter was still simpler if they were allowed to retain 
the rooms occupied by them. The fraternities also planned to fill 
ends with their own men and often obtained nearly complete posses- 
sion without serious opposition from the Faculty. But in 1914 rules 
were adopted to prevent this, the building of chapter houses had 
changed conditions and the societies quietly relinquished control. 
It was believed that the chapter houses gave ample opportunity for 
the brothers meeting each other and that fraternity ends in addition 
would encourage a clique spirit. 

Formerly it was thought that upper classmen should have the 
first choice of rooms, but now it is felt that care should be taken 
that Freshmen enter as soon as possible into the spirit and pleasures 



414 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

of "college life." In 1917 the Faculty voted that sixteen of the 
ninety-six dormitory rooms be reserved for Freshmen. 

The rent of rooms in the dormitories, like other college expenses, 
has greatly increased. At first it was but five dollars a year. In 
1819 it was raised to seven dollars and a half, and in 1822 to twenty 
dollars. In 1874 on the recommendation of President Chamberlain 
a graded system was established. With modern dormitories came 
something like modern rents and in the year 1925-1926 the charge 
for a study and bed room ranged from $110 to $235. 5 * 

In 1880 President Chamberlain said that it was important that 
college officers should reside in the dormitories, that, at that time only 
two did, and that there should be one in each Hall. But there are 
serious objections to such an arrangement. It is apt to cause fric- 
tion between Faculty and students and to stimulate rather than re- 
press mischief, and so far from the number of Faculty proctors 
being increased they were done away with for many years. But the 
need of protecting the renovated dormitories and the absence of most 
of the Seniors and Juniors in the chapter houses rendered some 
supervision necessary. First the younger instructors and then Bow- 
doin graduates in the Medical School were made proctors, but the re- 
sults proved unsatisfactory. Seniors whose character and tempera- 
ment fitted them for the position were then appointed with a pro- 
fessor as head proctor and the experiment has been found to work 
well. 

Chapel 

The founders of Bowdoin believed that a chapel was a necessary 
part of a college and in 1805 the Boards engaged Mr. Samuel Mel- 
cher of Brunswick to erect one. Mr. Melcher was a skilful and care- 
ful architect and builder. He appears to have been also a good 
business man, for his papers, recently examined by his grandson, 
show that his contract price was twelve hundred dollars and the 
actual cost of the chapel eight hundred. The chapel has been de- 
scribed as "A plain, unpainted structure of wood, with trimmings of 
white, which stood about one hundred feet in advance of Maine Hall. 
It was of two stories with a pediment and cornice facing the west. 

5 * The expense, however, is usually divided by two students rooming together. 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 415 

The lower story was the chapel, the reading desk in the rear end, 
with a window that looked out upon Maine Hall." This story was 
twelve feet high; the second, which housed the library and philoso- 
phical apparatus, was nine. "In the summer of 1818 the chapel was 
moved a few feet and turned so as to face north to Massachusetts 
Hall. A tower and belfry were added to receive the college bell 
transferred from Massachusetts Hall, and the whole building was 
painted a straw color." 

The chapel was inartistic, small and cold and in every way un- 
satisfactory. An attempt was made to obtain money to defray the 
cost of a small addition but without success. In 1825 the college 
petitioned the Legislature for a grant of three thousand dollars a 
year for three years, part of the money to be used for building a new 
chapel. But the Solons believed, quite unjustly, that Bowdoin was 
well off and refused aid. 

After waiting seventeen years longer the Boards, encouraged by 
some subscriptions which they had obtained, directed a committee 
to purchase the lumber which would be necessary for the construc- 
tion of a building to serve as a chapel, a library, and a gallery of 
painting. The total cost was not to exceed fifteen thousand dollars. 
Nearly one-third of this amount had been raised when the likelihood 
of the college receiving a large sum from the Bowdoin estate became 
known to the public, and the Visiting Committee of 1843 was obliged 
to report that for this reason, "A further appeal to private munifi- 
cence is found to have little chance to prove successful." Probably 
another cause of the drying up of the stream of liberality was the 
offense given to Massachusetts friends of the college by the means 
taken to enfore the college claim to the Bowdoin lands. 

The Boards, however, did not lose heart but repeated their vote 
of the preceding year. President Woods was most anxious that 
Bowdoin should have a stately and beautiful chapel like those of 
English colleges, and he carefully discussed the matter with Mr. 
Richard Upjohn of New York, one of the foremost architects in 
America. Mr. Upjohn, with the collaboration of the President, drew 
plans for a Romanesque church. The style appears to have been 
chosen in part at least for business reasons, for the Visiting Com- 



416 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

mittee told the Boards that "The Order adopted ... is distin- 
guished from the Gothic, by greater simplicity and is consequently 
capable of being executed at less cost." [Denominational feeling 
may also have had an influence. Congregationalists were inclined to 
look with disfavor on elaborate architecture, moreover Mr. Upjohn 
was an Episcopalian and usually reserved the Gothic for his own 
church.] 

The architect was paid by commission, and so confident was Mr. 
Upjohn that the cost would not exceed a limit of fifteen thousand dol- 
lars which had been fixed by the Boards that he waived his right to a 
commission on any excess. It soon appeared that there would be a 
serious excess ; but it was thought that six thousand dollars would 
complete the building and Bowdoin found an "angel" in ex-Governor 
King. That gentleman had a real interest in education, he was some- 
what vain and fond of show, and he had reached the age when such 
men begin to turn their thoughts to the establishment of some memo- 
rial which shall tell future generations of their greatness. According- 
ly King came to an understanding with the Bowdoin authorities that 
he would pay six thousand dollars toward the cost of the chapel and 
that they would name it "King." There was of course no contract nor 
even a public mention of the "deal." The Visiting Committee of 1844 
told the Boards that "In consideration of the valuable services of the 
Hon. William King as President of the Convention which framed 
the Constitution of the State, and as its first Governor, in promoting 
the cause of science and learning within this State and of his regard 
for the welfare of the college, the Committee recommend that the 
Chapel when executed be called, and known by the name of 'King 
Chapel.' " 

The Boards passed a vote similar to that proposed by their Com- 
mittee, but the consideration failed. King, indeed, promptly offered 
to pay six thousand dollars toward the completion of the chapel and 
his donation was gratefully accepted by the Boards ; but the ex- 
Governor was land poor and with the consent of the Boards he gave 
not cash, but his note for the amount that he had promised. The 
Boards appropriated an equal sum from the college funds to be re- 
placed when the note was paid. That time never came. King was 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 417 

obliged to encroach on his principal in order to meet his ordinary 
living expenses, his mind gave way, and he soon died. The estate 
was not sufficient to support his widow and pay his debts. The most 
available part of his property had already been levied on and King's 
note to Bowdoin was worthless. 

In these circumstances the King family and the college gave 
mutual releases. Mrs. King wrote to President Woods, "Enter- 
taining the best wishes for the prosperity of Bowdoin College, 
and believing were my late husband alive and in full possession 
of his faculties, it would be his earnest desire to have such measures 
adopted, as would relieve the college from pecuniary embarassment, 
arising from the outlay on the Chapel, express it as my desire that 
the name of King be withdrawn from the Chapel, and that of some 
future generous donor or the name he may suggest be substituted, 
provided the $4000.00 are not raised in the manner contemplated. 6 

(signed) Respectfully 

Ann M. King" 

Then followed a postscript, signed by Governor King's only son, 
and by other members of the family, "We approve of the above re- 
quest." 

The Visiting Committee recommended that the Boards pass a 
resolution stating that "the college honor and cherish the memory 
of Gen. King and have full confidence in his intentions and expec- 
tations ; but that in view of the circumstances of the case and the 
pressing necessities of the college, the petition of Mrs. King and 
others [It was a conditional assent not a request] should be taken 
into consideration; and that a joint committee of two from this 
Board and three from the Overseers be appointed with power to 
substitute if they think best some other suitable name for that of the 
name of King provided that as a consequence of this arrangement a 
sum of not less than four thousand dollars can be secured for the 
benefit of the college." The next year the Boards accepted the 
"proposal of the King family" ; but they passed over the suggestion 
of the committee that they make some complimentary remarks about 
the late Governor. 

6 The meaning of the last clause in the letter is obscure. 



418 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

Meanwhile the college was struggling desperately to meet the un- 
looked for cost of the chapel. In 1846 the Visiting Committee rec- 
ommended that work be stopped when it had reached some fixed 
point. It had been suggested that the literary societies be asked to 
complete the wings, which could then be used for their libraries, but 
the Committee deemed the proposal unadvisable. In 1848 the south 
wing was ready to serve as a temporary chapel and the next year 
the north wing became an art gallery and a lecture room for the 
mathematical department. In the same year the Committee re- 
ported that a quantity of black walnut timber for decorating the 
interior had been purchased and was seasoning, and it advised 
that the work be pressed on as fast as possible, "with a preference 
to the useful part over the ornamental." The Committee thought, 
however, that an exception to this rule might be made in favor of the 
towers, as the chief expense for them had been incurred already. 
In 1851 the problem of the chapel had become so perplexing that the 
members of the Visiting Committee frankly confessed that they were 
unable to solve it. They said in their annual report : "To leave the 
chapel in its present unfinished state, with its principal room useless, 
would expose the college to the mocking reproach spoken of by our 
Saviour, of those who attempted to build a tower and had not where- 
with to finish it, and to complete it with funds drawn from a con- 
stantly diminishing treasury would expose the college to still more 
just reproach. It is for the Boards to decide what course shall be 
pursued." 

In 1852 the Treasurer, acting on the urgent advice of President 
Woods and Professor Upham, permitted the appropriation for the 
chapel to be overdrawn in order that the work might continue. Pro- 
fessor Upham was confident that he could easily obtain four thou- 
sand dollars if the giver were allowed to name the chapel. The Visit- 
ing Committee was decidedly of the opinion that this would be un- 
advisable, but their objection was to a public announcement. 

Other colleges have been even less scrupulous. In 1803 the Col- 
lege of Rhode Island offered to take the name of any one who, with- 
in a year, would give it five thousand dollars. Just at the expiration 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 419 

of the time a wealthy merchant of Providence tendered the money, 
and so we have Brown University. 7 Happily the chapel was finished 
without christening it with the name of some benefactor whose mo- 
tives were mixed and whose donation, though much needed, would 
have been but a small part of the cost. 

In 1855 the building was at last completed and on June 7 it was 
solemnly dedicated, almost exactly ten years after the laying of the 
corner stone. The cost was $46,509.10, or more than three times 
the original estimate. 

The following description of the chapel, "will give to those who 
have not seen it, some idea of a structure which has exerted an in- 
fluence as real as it has been unperceived. The facade is strongly 
marked by twin towers, the spires of which rise to a height of one hun- 
dred and twenty feet. The main walls equal in length the height of 
the towers and shut off the nave, which forms the chapel proper, from 
the aisles. These, thus converted into separate rooms are used chiefly 
for recitation and conference rooms. The transepts break the long 
reach of the low roof of the aisles and afford entrance and office rooms. 
It is the nave that especially illustrates the aesthetic views of Presi- 
dent Woods. One find himself in a broad aisle, on either side of which 
are five forms running lengthwise and with three rows of seats each 
behind and above the other. These are occupied by the students, 
the lower classes sitting nearer the entrance, while members of the 
Faculty occupy seats between the forms, or on the platform which 
occupies the other end of the room. High above this is the gallery 
which affords admission to the room formerly used for the art col- 
lections. The entrance to it is so arranged that the large rose win- 
dow at the east end pours a flood of light into the chapel in the 
morning. Directly opposite is the organ loft with a gallery for the 
choir, and a tasteful organ, the gift of an alumnus and his wife. The 
woodwork, all of black walnut, has designs in relief in harmony with 
the architecture of the building. The smooth walls rise nearly forty 
feet above the wainscoting before they are broken by the clerestory 

7 It should be said, however, that this was only the first of Mr. Brown's bene- 
factions and that the total value of his gifts and bequests is said to have been 
nearly one hundred and sixty thousand dollars. 



420 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

windows. This space is divided by decorative frescoing into twelve 
large panels for as many paintings." 8 

From the first the chapel has been the object of unstinted praise. 
The Visiting Committee in its report of 1845 said that the members 
"have examined the Chapel now erecting and express their unquali- 
fied approbation both of the plan, the materials and the workman- 
ship. The building is erecting in the most substantial and durable 
manner and will be an ornament to the Country [this may have 
meant surrounding territory and not nation] and reflect credit on 
all concerned in its erection, and they believe besides its intrinsic 
usefulness, it will be beneficial by attracting Students to a place 
where such good taste prevails." Apparently the chapel not only 
witnessed to the artistic feeling of the authorities of Bowdoin but 
improved the manners and morals of the undergraduates. After the 
completion of the chapel the Visiting Committee noted with surprise 
that there was not a single knife mark on the walnut wainscoting 
and that the students had held it sacred from all injury. The Com- 
mittee said that should the forbearance continue, the generous 
friends who contributed to the erection of the chapel would feel 
amply rewarded by this improvement in the character of the under- 
graduates. The early respect was maintained. Professor Little 
says that the chapel "has been the pride of each successive genera- 
tion of Bowdoin students." The admiration has not been confined 
to Bowdoin men. The late Congressman McCall, a Harvard grad- 
uate, said in his life of Thomas B. Reed that other colleges have 
larger chapels but none which excels Bowdoin's in appropriate 
beauty. 

Beauty and immediate practical usefulness do not always go to- 
gether, indeed they are often incompatible, and such has been the 
case with the Bowdoin chapel. Professor Little says "The majority 
of New Englanders believed that meeting houses, including college 
chapels, should be erected according to the law of acoustics — Presi- 
dent Woods held that a church should be erected according to the 
law of optics. The Bowdoin chapel was so erected." It was there- 
fore ill adapted for preaching or the giving of informal addresses to 

8 This description is taken, with a few changes to bring it up to date, from 
an account of the chapel by Professor Little in his Historical Sketch. 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 421 

the students. This defect was the subject of serious complaint until 
the want was partly met by the building of Memorial Hall. The 
heating of the chapel was both difficult and expensive. The original 
furnaces were wood burning only and in 1858 the Visiting Committee 
advised that when it became necessary to rebuild them they should 
be constructed so as to permit the use of coal. In 1861 two hundred 
and twenty dollars were appropriated for such a furnace. In 1864 
the Committee reported that the furnace had consumed nearly three 
hundred dollars worth of coal and that "this has been in part at 
least on account of the great altitude of the room, and the windows 
being at the most elevated part, which have admitted much cold air 
as well as light." On the recommendation of the Committee the 
Boards gave the Faculty permission to change temporarily the place 
of chapel exercises, a power that was used from time to time. In 
1882 the Committee recommended that a beginning of steam heat- 
ing be made with the intention of ultimately doing away with the 
hot air furnaces. This was done the next year and the Orient de- 
clared that it could not praise the new system too highly. But 
though steam heating contributed much to the comfort of the stu- 
dents, decorum sometimes suffered. The pipes ran behind the seats 
and it was very easy to kick them without being discovered. The 
Professors, however, were not helpless as may be seen from a rebuke 
in the '86 Bugle : "If the steam pipes happen to be restless and noisy, 
no Christian man would take revenge by praying five minutes longer." 
Although the chapel was pronounced finished and was dedicated in 
1855, the six panels on each side of the prayer room were unfilled. 
It was not the intention to provide them by appropriations from 
the college funds but to rely on the generosity of individuals. Doubt- 
less President Woods hoped that private munificence would soon 
meet the need, but it was sixty years before vacant spaces ceased to 
mar the beauty of the chapel. A beginning in filling them was, how- 
ever, quickly made. President Woods while calling or visiting at 
the house of Jared Sparks the historian showed, doubtless with much 
enthusiasm, the plans of the building in which he took such pride. 
Mr. and Mrs. Sparks at once said, "Let us fill one of the panels." 
The Sparks possessed a number of photographs of fine pictures, they 



422 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

were examined, Raphael's cartoon of Paul Preaching on Mars Hill 
was selected, and a copy was duly placed in the panel nearest the 
preacher's platform on the right-hand side. At about the same 
time Bellamy Storer of Cincinnati, an honorary A.M. of Bowdoin, 
gave a second panel representing the Healing of the Lame Man at 
the Gate Beautiful, and some two years later an anonymous donor 
now known to be Timothy Walker of Boston, a cousin of President 
Woods, gave a picture representing the Adoration of the Magi. 
All three were painted by Mueller, a German artist of New York. 
The first two were copies of cartoons by Raphael, the third of a 
picture by Cornelius, a founder of the Dusseldorf school. In 1860 
President Woods engaged an unknown artist to fill the panel on the 
same side next the door with an Annunciation copied from one of the 
chief works of the French artist, Jalabert. The President expected 
to defray the cost by the sale of a copy of Titian's Danae, one of the 
Bowdoin collection of pictures, which the Boards considered im- 
proper to be exhibited, but the Annunciation was finished without a 
sale being effected and at the President's request Hon. Nathan Cum- 
mings of Portland advanced the necessary money, taking the Danae 
as security. Months passed, a sale was reported to be hopeless and 
the President induced Mr. Cummings to accept the picture in satis- 
faction of the debt. In 1866 the graduating class began the filling 
of the left side of the chapel by presenting a picture, after Raphael, 
of St. Michael Slaying the Dragon. Sixty-Six was the founder of 
Phi Chi and the Faculty may have felt that they could hardly have 
found a less appropriate subject for their class gift than the over- 
throw of evil. Eleven years passed and again the Seniors filled a 
panel. Some of the members of seventy-seven had hoped throughout 
their course that their class would leave such a memorial and the 
vote to do so was almost unanimous. The picture selected was Ra- 
phael's Moses Giving the Law, the artist was Francis Lathrop. 
Many Brunswick people served as models for the Israelites and their 
faces can still be recognized by the older citizens. Professor J. B. 
Sewall posed for Aaron. The panel chosen was the one on the left- 
hand side of the chapel with one space between it and the St. Michael. 
The same year Mrs. Perry of Brunswick gave in memory of her 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 423 

husband a copy of the upper half of Raphael's Transfiguration, 
which was placed opposite the Moses. About the same time friends 
of Dr. John D. Lincoln of Brunswick, Bowdoin '43, gave in his mem- 
ory a Baptism of Christ after Carlo Maratti, painted by Francis 
Lathrop. In 1886 Henry J. Furber of Chicago, the donor of the 
Smyth mathematical prize, filled the panel between the St. Michael 
and the Moses with a picture by Frederic Vinton of Boston after 
the Adam and Eve of Flandrin in the church of St. Germain des 
Pres near Paris. Unlike the other pictures this was first painted on 
canvas and then fastened to the panel. As a work of art, it is one 
of the best in the chapel. But the figures seem too large, being 
drawn on a scale out of proportion to those of the other pictures. 
In 1908 Dr. Gerrish of Portland, in memory of his brother, placed 
next to the Giving of the Law a reproduction of Tissot's picture of 
David with the head of Goliath and the maidens of Israel singing 
songs of joy. The artist was Mr. Kahili, a resident of Maine, but a 
Syrian by birth. In 1913 Dr. Gerrish won the distinction of being the 
only person to give two pictures by presenting one in memory of Pro- 
fessor Chapman. It was a Delphic Sibyl after Michael Angelo and was 
painted by Miss Edna Marret of Brunswick. The same lady filled a 
panel with a reproduction of Michael Angelo's "Isaiah," given by Dr. 
Lucien Howe, '70, in memory of his brother, Albion Howe, '61. 
The half-panels by the platform steps have been filled by Fra 
Angelieo angels. 

The panels have not received the almost universal approbation 
given to the chapel as a whole. There has been warm praise, there 
has also been criticism. The earlier pictures were received with 
great enthusiasm. The Visiting Committee claimed for them not 
only beauty but a strong religious influence. It said that the stu- 
dents were "often seen gazing with earnest attention & apparent 
heart felt interest upon the scenes so warmly portrayed to the 
eye deriving impressions both more vivid and durable than is (sic) 
likely to be obtained in any other mode." More recent critics 
have seen the faults as well as the beauties. It is but fair to remem- 
ber that mural painting came late in America, and that some of the 
amounts paid the artists were small even for their day. Otto, who 



424 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

painted the St. Michael and the Dragon, received one hundred dol- 
lars for each figure and about eighteen dollars for travelling ex- 
penses. He probably obtained the least of any of the painters and 
perhaps deserved the least. "Amoeba" wrote to the Orient at the 
time of the completion of the picture that it did not seem to have 
given universal satisfaction. The anatomy was certainly defective 
for the artist failed to discriminate between St. Michael's right and 
left foot. An editorial in the Orient of May 28, 1884, advocating 
a proposal that the Senior class should fill another panel urged that 
a prompt beginning be made in accumulating a fund so that enough 
money might be obtained to engage a first class artist. "Deformed 
angels should be guarded against in the future." 

Library 

Bowdoin had a library before it had either a faculty or buildings. 
Part of the first subscriptions for its benefit were of books, not 
money; and one of the earliest entries on the records of the Boards 
provides that Rev. Doctor Deane shall have charge of the books 
given to the college and "lend them to any of the Trustees who may 
incline to borrow them." At the opening of the college there were 
some five hundred books in the library and it was quickly doubled in 
numbers and more than doubled in usefulness by the generosity of 
Madam Elizabeth Bowdoin, the widow of Governor Bowdoin, who 
requested President McKeen to have purchased for the college, in 
London, on her account, books to the value of one hundred pounds 
sterling. There were no overhead expenses. A London gentleman, 
Mr. George Erving, bought the books and Mr. James Bowdoin de- 
frayed the whole cost of the transportation to Brunswick. 9 In 1803 
the Boards appropriated a thousand dollars for the purchase of 
books, a large sum considering the poverty of the college. In 1811 
Mr. James Bowdoin died. He left various bequests to the college, 

9 It has been said that Madame Bowdoin gave five hundred dollars and the 
cost of bringing the books to Brunswick, but an official list of donations to the 
college makes her gift $444.00, which would be the equivalent of one hundred 
pounds sterling, and the records of the Trustees contain their vote of thanks to 
George Erving and James Bowdoin for the services mentioned above. It has also 
been said or implied that President McKeen selected the books, but the authority- 
was shared with the Vice President of the Trustees, Dr. Deane. 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 425 

including his library. "This consisted of upwards of two thousand 
volumes and of as many pamphlets. The books were largely pur- 
chased abroad, and were evidently chosen with much personal care 
and thought. The collection was especially strong in French litera- 
ture and history, in science and agriculture, and in international 
law. In mineralogy it seems to have included almost everything in 
print. The works in English literature are well selected, but the 
absence of poetry is noticeable . . . The library was appraised at 
$5362.66." 

Mr. Bowdoin is only the first on a long list of donors of special 
collections and sets. Among them are the British and Foreign Bible 
Society, The American Bible Society, and the American Board of 
Foreign Missions. As a result of their generosity Professor Pack- 
ard could say in 1879 that he doubted if any American college li- 
brary was richer in versions of the Scriptures. Bowdoin was not 
supplied with the Christian Scriptures only. A missionary in India 
gave an edition of the Mahrabatta, kindly sending also a complete 
translation, and S. R. King of the class of 1859, who had intended 
to enter the ministry, but had been prevented by circumstances, gave 
the Maine college an elaborate edition of the Tripilaka, the writings 
of the Southern Buddhists. In 1895 the King of Siam presented an 
edition of this work and a few years ago his grandson sent to Bow- 
doin and to many other colleges a number of volumes correcting and 
enlarging the earlier edition. A letter from the Siamese charge des 
affaires accompanying the gift stated that the Prince had spent 
years in preparing a correct edition, moved by reverence for Bud- 
dhism and respect for his grandfather. 

Private individuals have also made generous gifts. Mr. Wolcott 
of Boston, through President Allen, gave five hundred volumes, which 
he would have presented to Dartmouth University had that institu- 
tion survived. Nathaniel Johnson of Wolfboro, New Hampshire, 
gave three hundred and fifty French books. Judge Thacher be- 
queathed to the college a considerable part of his large library. 

The college, itself, purchased books regularly, the annual appro- 
priations averaging for many years somewhat less than two hundred 
dollars ; a small sum, but Bowdoin's income was also small. The 



426 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

money went chiefly for magazines and publications of learned so- 
cieties. Both the works given and those purchased were somewhat 
narrow in scope and of rather minute scholarship for a small college. 
The Visiting Committee of 1827 recommended that more care be 
taken to purchase books which would be most useful to the students, 
and such as from their decided merit and standard character would 
give permanent value to the library. It should be remembered, how- 
ever, that the college library was not the only collection of books set 
apart for Bowdoin students. The two "general" or "literary" so- 
cieties, to one or the other of which most of the students belonged, 
had excellent libraries. For nearly fifty years they were steadily 
increased by gifts from the graduate and undergraduate members. 
The Visiting Committee of 1828 said that they fully believed that 
the society libraries were of more value to the students than was the 
college library. Lack of accomodations for the latter interfered 
with the purchase of books. At times the librarian could not spend to 
advantage even the modest sums allotted him by the Boards, but at 
other times there was a most serious deficiency. In 1862 the libra- 
rian advanced $159.72 of his own money. In 1874* the college was 
in great financial difficulty and the Boards made no appropriation 
for the library. The librarian stopped purchasing books on the col- 
lege account and discontinued the subscriptions to some magazines 
which had been taken since the foundation of the college. He paid 
for other magazines himself and also bought eleven dollars worth 
of books for which the demand was urgent. Matters soon improved 
but the library was still poor. 

In 1880 President Chamberlain said, in his annual report, that it 
should be endowed and made as valuable as any chair of instruction. 
An attempt was made to raise twenty thousand dollars for this pur- 
pose, but without success. In 1881 the Visiting Committee recom- 
mended that the subscriptions to periodicals be continued and that 
the books which the library already had be made more available. 
There was considerable difference of opinion among the authorities 
in regard to the proportion in which the library's scanty income 
should be divided between the purchase of new books and the pre- 
serving and rebinding of old ones. But there can be little doubt that 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 427 

the former was much the greater obligation. In literature the old 
books are often the best books, but in other branches of learning, 
while a few works stand as true classics, the great majority soon 
become of little use except as material for a history of human knowl- 
edge. And it may be that the Bowdoin library was in special need of 
modern works. In 1885 Dean Chapman stated that the collection, 
though large and valuable, was peculiar and President Hyde said in 
his first report, "The library is a growth rather than a systematic 
selection. It is rich in the curiosities of the past rather than in the 
essentials of the present. The need of increased funds for the pur- 
chase of books is urgent." This need was gradually met. The 
Boards had been granting six hundred dollars a year for the pur- 
chase of books, including one hundred dollars for the departments 
of physics and of history, respectively. In 1889 the total appropri- 
ation was increased to a thousand dollars, and in 1892 to twelve 
hundred dollars. In the year 1925-26 about eight thousand six 
hundred dollars were spent for the increase of the library, but only 
a part of this was appropriated by the Boards from unrestricted 
income. 

Although the attempt to raise twenty thousand dollars for a gen- 
eral endowment of the library had failed, individuals and classes 
gave from time to time and the library has now funds amounting to 
about eighty thousand dollars whose income is to be used either for 
the purchase of books, often on special subjects, or for the general 
purposes of the library. All the funds bear the name of the donor or 
of some person selected by him. Of special interest to Bowdoin men 
is a fund of six thousand dollars given by Dr. Frederic H. Gerrish 
in memory of his classmate, Professor Chapman, the income to be 
used for the purchase of books on English Literature, and a fund of 
one thousand and twenty dollars given by Mr. George S. Bowdoin, 
a descendant of Governor Bowdoin, the income to be used for the 
purchase of books relating to the Huguenots. By a skilful use of 
this modest sum the college has built up one of the best collections 
of Huguenot material in America if not in the world. The largest 
fund yet established and the one perpetuating the memory of the 
senior alumnus so honored is the Appleton Library Fund of about 



428 THE HISTORY OF BOWDOIN COLLEGE 

ten thousand dollars, established by Frederick H. Appleton of the 
class of 1864 in memory of his father, Chief Justice Appleton, of the 
class of 1822. 10 One of the most recent funds given to the library 
and that commemorating the youngest person is the Thomas Hub- 
bard Book Fund. Thomas Hubbard, a son of General Thomas H. 
Hubbard, the donor of the Bowdoin Library Building, died at the 
age of five. His father in order to provide a fund for his son's edu- 
cation had deposited to his account one hundred dollars on each 
birthday. After the boy's death General Hubbard refrained from 
disturbing the deposit which became sacred to him. General Hub- 
bard died in 1915 and his surviving children for some years allowed 
the deposit to accumulate, then in 1922 they decided to transfer it 
to the Bowdoin Library as a memorial for their brother. The Thorn- 
dike Oak has commemorated for Bowdoin men a youth of whom it 
has been said 

Brief was his race and light his task 

For immortality 

His only tribute to the years 

The planting of a tree. 

But the infant, Thomas Hubbard, will have a long remembrance 
on even easier terms. Perhaps he may claim the distinction of being 
the youngest boy whose name is specially preserved by any college 
in America. 

Although in more recent times the gifts made to the library have 
been of money rather than books, it has received some large and 
valuable collections. In 1875 Alexander Agassiz gave the college 
the works of his father in thirty-seven unbound volumes and pam- 
phlets and thirty volumes of plates. In 1895 Rev. Thomas T. Stone, 
of the class of 1820, at the time of his death the oldest graduate of 
Bowdoin, bequeathed to the college his library of a thousand volumes, 
which included a complete set of the Christian Mirror. In 1905 the 
college received a thousand volumes and twenty-three hundred pam- 
phlets from the professional library of Professor A. S. Packard, 

10 In 1926 Messrs. H. H. Pierce, '96, and T. L. Pierce, '98, gave a handsome sum 
to the Library in memory of their father, Lewis Pierce of the class of 1852; they 
have also announced their intention of adding to the fund from time to time, but 
the amount of the fund has not been made public. 



CAMPUS AND BUILDINGS 429 

'61, a son of Professor A. S. Packard, '16, and an entomologist